At least 37 people have been killed and at least 71 people are still in hospital after a car bomb struck the Turkish capital, Ankara, officials say. A bomb-laden car exploded on Sunday evening in the centrally located Kizilay neighbourhood, near a major transport hub, private broadcaster NTV reported. The death toll rose by three to 37 on Monday morning, the Turkish health minister said, adding that at least one attacker was being counted in the overall toll.
Witnesses said the blast set vehicles on fire and heavily damaged several buses. The explosion, which could be heard several kilometres away, also sent burning debris showering down over an area a few hundred metres from the justice and interior ministries, a top courthouse, and the former office of the prime minister. “These attacks, which threaten our country’s integrity and our nation’s unity and solidarity, do not weaken our resolve in fighting terrorism but bolster our determination,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement.
“As of now there has been no claim of responsibility,” said Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Jamjoom, reporting from Istanbul. “But this is a real concern for Turkey. It happened in the capital and this is the third explosion to have happened” in Ankara since October.
Local broadcasters reported that an Ankara court ordered a ban on access to Facebook, Twitter and other sites in Turkey on Sunday, after images from the car bombing were shared on social media. Several local users reported difficulty in accessing the sites. Fadi Hakura, a Turkey expert and associate fellow at Chatham House, told Al Jazeera that insecurity was becoming the new normal in the country.