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Tuesday , August 20 2019

Amir expresses solace to Turkey over deadly blast – Ankara vows IS fight

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 22, (Agencies): His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has addressed a cable to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing condolences on victims who had fallen as a result of the terrorist explosion in the city of Gaziantep.

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad, in the cable to the Turkish president, prayed to His Almighty to bestow mercy upon souls of the victims and hoped quick recovery for the injured.

The State of Kuwait deplores this brazen and criminal act that targeted the innocent, His Highness the Amir stated in the cable, affirming that the explosion that left scores of people dead or wounded contradicts all heavenly creeds and human values.

Kuwait supports all measures that have been taken by the friendly Republic of Turkey against terrorist acts designed to undermine its security and stability, His Highness said.

He renewed the State of Kuwait’s unwavering rejection of all forms of terrorism, as well as its standing alongside the international community to fight this scourge.

Their Highnesses the Crown Prince and the Prime Minister, respectively Sheikh Nawaf Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Sheikh Jaber Al- Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, sent cables of identical content to the Turkish president.

Meanwhile, Turkey is determined to fight Islamic State group extremists inside Turkey and in Syria, the Turkish foreign minister said Monday, after a suicide bomber attacked a Kurdish wedding party, killing at least 54 people, many of them children.

Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey would provide every kind of support needed to “cleanse” Turkey’s border with Syria of the extremists. The death toll from Saturday’s attack increased to 54 as three more victims died in hospitals, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Nearly 70 others were wounded. On Sunday, Erdogan said the suicide bomber was a child between 12 and 14 years old. But Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Monday that authorities were still trying to identify the bomber and didn’t know whether attacker was “a child or a grown-up.”

“A clue has not yet been found concerning the perpetrator,” Yildirim told reporters following a weekly Cabinet meeting, adding that the earlier assertion that the attacker was child was a “guess” based on witness accounts.

An official said at least 22 victims of the attack in the southeastern city of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, were children younger than 14. The official couldn’t be named in line with Turkish government rules.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but officials have said it appeared to be the work of the Islamic State group, accusing it of trying to destabilize the country by exploiting ethnic and religious tensions. It was the deadliest attack in Turkey this year.

Responding to a question about reports that Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces may launch an operation to free an IS-held town from Turkish territory, Cavusoglu said: “Our border has to be completely cleansed of DAESH (an Arabic name for IS). It’s natural for us to give whatever kind of support is necessary. “(IS) martyred our … citizens. It is natural for us to struggle against such an organization both inside and outside of Turkey,” he said.

Cavusoglu said Turkey had become a main target for IS because of the nation’s efforts to stop recruits from crossing into Syria to join the fighting, as well as hundreds of arrests of IS suspects in Turkey. He said Turkey had also become a top target because of statements by Erdogan that the extremist group did “not represent Islam.”

The deadly attack also came amid struggles between the government and Kurdish militants linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK, and as the country is still reeling from the aftermath of last month’s failed coup attempt, which the government has blamed on US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and his followers. The suicide bombing followed a June attack on Istanbul’s main airport where IS suspects killed 44 people.

A dual suicide bombing blamed on IS at a peace rally in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, in October killed 103 people.

The pro-Kurdish political party HDP condemned the attack on the wedding, which it said was attended by many of its party members. Nihat Ali Ozcan, a security and terrorism expert at the Ankara-based Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, said the attack on the wedding appeared to be retaliation by IS for recent Syrian Kurdish militia gains in Syria along the Turkish border. “It appears to be an act to punish the PYD,” Ozcan said, referring to a Syrian Kurdish group whose militia is fighting IS. “It’s the cross-border settlement of scores by two actors fighting in Syria.”

Ozcan said the group chose a wedding party and sent a child to carry out the attack to increase the “shock” effect. He said the attack was most likely carried out by a local IS cell, who would know that the wedding was a Kurdish gathering

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