Deadly blast hits Turkish town near Syria

An apparent suicide blast in a Turkish town near the Syrian border tore through a political meeting Monday, killing at least 28 people in an attack officials called a “terrorist” strike.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The site of the blast, Suruc, is near the Syrian town of Kobane, where Syrian Kurdish defenders have faced attacks by Islamic State fighters since late last year.

A statement from Turkey’s Interior Ministry described the bloodshed as a “terrorist attack.” The Associated Press, citing the prime minister’s office, said at least 28 people were killed and about 100 were injured.

Turkish reports said the blast tore through a cultural center hosting a pro-Kurdish political group discussing efforts to rebuild Kobane, which has been devastated by the fighting.

Officials also said investigators believe the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber, raising speculation of links to militant groups such as the Islamic State.

“We are certain it was a suicide bomber,” the provincial governor, Izzettin Kucuk, was quoted as saying by the Hurriyet newspaper.

During a visit to northern Cyprus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the attack an act of “savagery.”

The battles for Kobane occurred within sight of Turkish forces massed on the border, but military leaders did not send ground troops over the border. U.S.-led airstrikes, meanwhile, helped drive back Islamic State militants from positions near Kobane.

The Islamic State also still holds significant stretches of territory in Syria and neighboring Iraq.