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Australia's ambassador 20m away from lethal Turkish blast

AUSTRALIA'S ambassador to Turkey was reportedly just 20 metres away when a car bomb exploded in central Ankara killing at least 34 people and wounding 125.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said she had spoken to the "slightly shaken" ambassador James Larsen, who was in his car near Kizilay Square in the Turkish capital when the blast occurred.

"He likened it to a bomb going off in the middle of one of Sydney's busiest streets ... it was a horrific sight," Ms Bishop said.

The attack took place in the city's diplomatic district, but Ms Bishop said she understood it was targeted at soldiers and that Mr Larsen's presence was coincidental.

Ms Bishop said the ambassador and local embassy staff were unharmed, and that no Australians were known to have been killed or injured at this stage.

 

Turkish officials say at least 34 people have been killed and 125 wounded in the suicide bomb attack. 

A car bomb was detonated close to busy bus stops near Ankara's main square in the Kizilay neighbourhood.

The incident comes just a few weeks a bomb attack on a military convoy in the city killed 28.

Local TV reports say that the explosion happened after a car slammed into a bus, raising suspicions that a car bomb may be to blame, but it came amid conflicting reports from other local journalists who suggested a device may have been planted at the scene.
 

Witnesses said the explosion happened near the main bus station, close to government ministries and parliamentary buildings, and several nearby vehicles were left burning in the aftermath.

Reuters reported that gunfire was also heard immediately after the explosion, though this too has not been confirmed.

Police have closed off the area around the Güvenpark in the Kizilay neighbourhood.

Several ambulances and police cars have been sent to the scene.

Several analysts have also reported that Turkish media coverage of the event has been restricted.

It is the third explosion in the Turkish capital since October 2015.

On 11 March, the US Embassy in Turkey warned of a potential terrorist plot to attack Turkish government buildings and housing located in the Bahcelievler area of Ankara.

Last month, a Kurdish militant group claimed an attack on a military convoy in Ankara which killed 28 people.

In October, 103 people were killed and 250 wounded when two suicide bombers targeted a peace rally in the deadliest attack in Turkish history.



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