Kurdish Group Claims Istanbul Bombing, Warns of More

A group linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square that injured more than 30 people, and warned that attacks will continue.

The group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, or TAK, said on its website that the Oct. 31 bombing was carried out by one of its commanders on his own initiative.

Turkish authorities say TAK acts under instructions from the PKK, while the PKK and TAK deny the link. TAK frequently claims responsibility for attacks in major cities and tourism centers that kill or injure civilians, which the PKK has recently vowed to avoid.

In an interview with Radikal newspaper last week, Iraq- based PKK senior commander Murat Karayilan apologized for civilian deaths and vowed not to harm civilians in future attacks.

The PKK, whose fight for autonomy against the Turkish state has led to some 40,000 deaths since 1984, most of them civilians, has declared a unilateral cease-fire until next year’s general elections in Turkey.

The Freedom Falcons said in today’s message that they were not bound by the PKK cease-fire and warned that their attacks will continue.

The group said the bomber, Vedat Acar, had joined the Falcons in 2005 and received training among a group of “suicide commandos.” It said his attack was not aimed at civilians.

The bomb attack, near a police bus in Istanbul’s main square and entertainment district, injured 15 police and 17 others, authorities say.

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