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44 killed in attack on wedding in Turkey

 In this image grabed from a footage released by CIHAN via APTN, an ambulance pulls into a Mardin's hospital in Mardin, southern Turkey, Tuesday, May ...
 In this image grabed from a footage released by CIHAN via APTN, a woman screams in Mardin, Turkey, Tuesday, May 5, 2009. Masked assailants with grena...
 In this image taken from a footage released by CIHAN via APTN, a woman screams in Mardin, Turkey, Tuesday, May 5, 2009. Masked assailants with grenad...

Turkey Attack

In this image grabed from a footage released by CIHAN via APTN, an ambulance pulls into a Mardin's hospital in Mardin, southern Turkey, Tuesday, May ...

Turkey Attack

In this image grabed from a footage released by CIHAN via APTN, a woman screams in Mardin, Turkey, Tuesday, May 5, 2009. Masked assailants with grena...

Turkey Attack

In this image taken from a footage released by CIHAN via APTN, a woman screams in Mardin, Turkey, Tuesday, May 5, 2009. Masked assailants with grenad...

Masked assailants with grenades and automatic weapons attacked a wedding ceremony in southeast Turkey on Monday, killing 44 people and wounding 20 others. Two girls survived after the bodies of slain friends fell on top of them during the onslaught.
NTV television quoted Deputy Gov. Ferhat Ozen of the province of Mardin as saying the nighttime attack occurred in the village of Bilge near the city of Mardin. Media outlets reported that a "blood feud" among families had led to the killings in a region where tribal ties and rivalries sometimes eclipse the power of the state.
Citing Ozen, NTV said the motive of the attack could be a feud between rival groups of pro-government village guards who fight alongside Turkish troops against Kurdish rebels in the region.
Mardin's Mayor, Mehmet Besir Ayanoglu, told Channel 24 that he spoke to two survivors, both girls, who said at least two masked men stormed a house where the wedding took place. Other reports put the number of assailants at four.
'"They raided the house, we were in two rooms, they opened fire on everyone, they were wearing masks,"' Ayanoglu quoted the girls as saying. The girls said they lay underneath the bodies of friends until the attack was over.
Anatolia news agency said at least 44 people died and three were seriously injured. NTV reported the same death toll, and said 20 people were wounded.
Ahmet Can, a relative who took the body of his nephew to a hospital said the site of the attack was horrifying.
"You could not believe your eyes; it is unbelievable," he told Turkey's Channel 24.
Citing witnesses, HaberTurk television said four masked gunmen were involved. The attack occurred during the wedding of the daughter of Cemil Celebi, a former village official who was among the wounded.
An Islamic cleric who was presiding over the marriage was also among the wounded, reports said. The fate of the bride and groom was not immediately known.
Ambulances took at least 17 bodies to the morgue of a hospital in Mardin, said Aytac Akgul, a local official. Hundreds of relatives of the victims gathered there, wailing in distress. Several people offered to donate blood.
State television said soldiers surrounded the village and cut all roads leading to it. It said there was no power in the village and it could not be reached by telephone. Journalists were barred from traveling to Bilge.
For years, Turkey has struggled over how to trim the 70,000-strong village guard force without releasing masses of trained fighters onto the streets of the southeast, where unemployment in some areas reaches 50 percent. The system is one of the few lucrative sources of employment in the region.
The military has purged thousands of village guards suspected of favoring Kurdish rebels fighting for autonomy in the southeast. Several hundred guards have also faced criminal charges that include drug- and weapons smuggling.
Many rebels and guardsmen are from the same villages or clans. Most guardsmen are poor villagers, and local residents and activists say some were forced to join against their will. Others were signed up by politically powerful clan leaders allied with the state.
The conflict between Kurdish guerrillas and government forces has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984.


Updated : 2021-03-02 13:41 GMT+08:00