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Suicide bomber who killed 50 at wedding was a child: Turkey

“The explosion was the result of a suicide bomber aged between 12 and 14 who either detonated (the bomb) or others detonated it,” Erdogan said during a press conference from Istanbul.

He repeated his assertion that initial information suggested the attack was perpetrated by the Islamic State group.

At least 50 people were killed in Gaziantep when a suspected suicide bomber linked to Islamic State jihadists attacked a wedding thronged with guests, officials said Sunday.

Erdogan said the IS extremist group was the “likely perpetrator” of the bomb attack, the deadliest in 2016, in Gaziantep late Saturday that targeted a celebration attended by many Kurds.

The remains of a suicide vest were found at the scene, the chief prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Sunday, broadcaster CNN-Turk reported.

The explosion was the latest attack to rock the key NATO member in a horrific year that has seen strikes blamed on Kurdish and Islamist militants as well as a bloody July 15 botched coup.

Gaziantep’s Governor Ali Yerlikaya said in a statement that 50 people had been killed, raising a previous toll of 30. He had previously said 94 were wounded in what he described as an “abhorrent terror bomb attack on a wedding.”

Erdogan said in a statement there was “no difference” between the group of U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen whom he blames for the failed coup bid, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)” and Daesh (IS), the likely perpetrator of the attack in Gaziantep.”

“Our country and our nation have again only one message to those who attack us — you will not succeed!” he said.

World leaders quickly condemned the attack including French President Francois Hollande who denounced the “vile” incident.

“France stands with all who fight against the scourge of terrorism,” the presidency said in a statement.

The U.S. ambassador to Turkey John Bass condemned the “barbaric attack on innocent civilians,” adding that Washington would “continue to work closely together to defeat the common threat of terrorism” in a statement shared on the official U.S. Embassy in Turkey Twitter account.

Kurds Targeted

Reports said the wedding had a strong Kurdish presence. The Dogan news agency said the bride and groom were from the mainly Kurdish region of Siirt further to the east and had themselves been uprooted due to the flare-up in violence with Kurdish militants.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said its members had been present at the wedding which was also attended by many women and children.