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Suicide bomber attacks Turkish parliament building ahead of opening session

A SUICIDE BOMBER has detonated an explosive device in the heart of the Turkish capital Ankara, hours before parliament was scheduled to reopen after a three-month summer recess.

A second assailant was killed in a shootout with police, the interior minister said.

Two police officers were slightly injured during the attack near an entrance to the Ministry of Interior Affairs, minister Ali Yerlikaya said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

The ministry said two attackers arrived in a commercial vehicle around 9:30 am local time (6:30 GMT) “in front of the entrance gate of the General Directorate of Security of our Ministry of the Interior, and carried out a bomb attack.”

“One of the terrorists blew himself up and the other was neutralised,” the ministry added on social media, saying two officers received “minor injuries”.

The targeted district is home to several other ministries and the Turkish parliament, which was due to reopen today with an address from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to Turkish media.

Media said the president was due to speak to deputies during the day’s session.

TV channel NTV reported gunfire in the cordoned-off area after the explosion, where many police vehicles and ambulances were seen.

Television footage showed bomb squads working near a parked vehicle in the area which is located near the Turkish Grand National Assembly and other government buildings.

A rocket launcher could be seen lying near the vehicle.

Justice minister Yilmaz Tunc said an investigation has been launched into the “terror attack”.

“These attacks will in no way hinder Turkey’s fight against terrorism,” he wrote on X.

The Ankara police headquarters said on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that it was carrying out “controlled explosions” of “suspicious packages” to prevent other explosions.

The Ankara prosecutor’s office said it was opening an investigation and banned access to the area.

Local media was asked to stop broadcasting images from the scene of the attack.

Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the blast.

Erdogan was set to speak during the opening of this parliamentary session, which must validate Sweden’s entry into the NATO alliance.

With reporting from Press Association and AFP