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Kurdish group claims suicide attack in Turkish city of Bursa

Police officers block the area near the site of a bombing, in Bursa, northwestern Turkey, on April 27, 2016. .
Police officers block the area near the site of a bombing, in Bursa, northwestern Turkey, on April 27, 2016. . Photos/ABACAPRESS.COM

ISTANBUL – A Kurdish militant group claimed responsibility Sunday for a suicide attack in the Turkish city of Bursa that wounded 13 people last week.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, also known as TAK, issued a statement identifying the bomber as Eser Cali. The female attacker blew herself up near an Ottoman-era mosque in Bursa’s historic district on Wednesday.

READ MORE: 2 policemen dead after car bomb explodes in southern Turkey

The 23-year-old Cali was from Igdir in eastern Turkey. TAK, which is considered by authorities as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, said she blew herself up before reaching the intended target.

TAK has also claimed responsible for two other suicide bombings, one in February and the other in March, which killed a total of 66 people in the capital, Ankara.

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The group says such attacks are reprisal for stepped up security operations in predominantly Kurdish areas of the southeast. A decades-old conflict between Kurdish militants and the Turkish state re-ignited last summer.

Turkey is struggling against an array of security threats, including growing blowback from the conflict in Syria.

READ MORE: US warns citizens of ‘credible threats’ in Turkey

The country has endured six major bombings since July 2015. The Islamic State group, which has a presence in neighbouring Syria and Iraq plus cells in Turkey, was behind four such attacks, according to the authorities.

On Sunday, a car bombing killed two police officers and wounded 22 other people in the southern city of Gaziantep, near Syria.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack but two Turkish officials said investigations were underway. They spoke on customary condition of anonymity.