More than a dozen people are reported killed, with several others injured, in an explosion that hit a bus in Turkey on Saturday (17 December) morning. Turkish military said the casualties included off-duty soldiers who were travelling in the bus.
The armed forces confirmed that at least 13 soldiers have been killed and 48 others wounded in the car bomb explosion that hit the passenger bus, Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News reported.
"The soldiers — all low-ranking privates and non-commissioned officers — had been given permission for leave from the commando headquarters in the city," the military said in a statement.
Without giving the death toll, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak confirmed that the attack was carried out by a car laden with explosives. He also told reporters that the bus was carrying off-duty soldiers to the central city of Kayseri.
The minister said the attack was reminiscent of the twin attacks that rocked an Istanbul soccer stadium last week. The attack, claimed by Kurdish militant group Kurdistan Freedom Hawks, killed more than 40 people and injured over 100.
Turkish media Haber Turk reported that the latest explosion occurred near the Erciyes University campus in Kayseri province in central Turkey at around 8.45am local time (5.45am BST).
Several ambulances were rushed to the blast site. The Hurriyet quoted hospital sources as saying earlier that more than 25 people were wounded in the blast.
Meanwhile, Turkey's media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), issued a temporary gag order prohibiting media outlets from live coverage of the blast. The agency reportedly said in a statement that showing live broadcast from the scene, footage taken from the time of the blast and afterwards, and images of bodies, have been banned.
Turkish authorities have launched an investigation into the attack. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.