White House Condemns Turkey Suicide Bombing

White House condemns suicide bombing in Turkey that killed at least 30 people and was blamed on ISIS.

Ben Ariel ,

White House spokesman Josh Earnest
White House spokesman Josh Earnest

The White House on Monday condemned an apparent suicide bombing in Turkey that  killed at least 30 people and was blamed on the Islamic State (ISIS) group, AFP reported.

Spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House "strongly condemns the heinous terrorist attack that occurred in southern Turkey," which Ankara said appeared to be the work of ISIS.

"We have started to see some extremist activity in other countries that does seem to be related to ISIL," Earnest said, using another acronym for the Islamic State group.

The bomb attack ripped through a cultural center in Suruc, a town opposite the Syrian flashpoint of Kobane, leaving 30 people dead and 104 wounded.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said earlier on Monday that initial investigations indicate that ISIS had been responsible for the attack.

"Preliminary findings point to it being a suicide attack carried out by Daesh," Davutoglu told a news conference in Ankara, using an Arabic name for ISIS. "But we are not at a point to make a final judgment."

Davutoglu said the bomber had not yet been identified, according to AFP.

Turkish authorities have cracked down on ISIS networks, arresting dozens of suspects in recent weeks, and beefed up its border with Syria with tanks and anti-aircraft missiles as well as additional troops.

The crackdown began after Turkey came under international pressure to tighten the security of its volatile 566 mile border with Syria to cut the flow of jihadists who try to join the ranks of ISIS.

Ankara was especially criticized over its failure to stop three British teenage girls who crossed the Turkey-Syria border to join ISIS in February. The three teens, Shamima Begum, 15, Amira Abase, also 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, are now feared to have reached the conflict zone and are believed to be staying at a house in the city of Raqqa, a stronghold of ISIS.

Turkey fiercely rejects the accusations, saying it is making every effort to secure a long border. In turn, it has accused the West of not playing its part to shoulder the burden of hosting 1.8 million refugees from Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Monday's deadly bomb attack as an "act of terror."

"We are drowning in grief that 28 citizens died and a large number of people were injured as a result of an act of terror," Erdogan said during a visit to the Turkish breakaway state in northern Cyprus, according to AFP.

"On behalf of my people, I curse and condemn the perpetrators of this brutality," he added. "Terror must be condemned no matter where it comes from."