7 soldiers killed at ammunition depot blast in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s president said Saturday that at least seven soldiers were killed and 25 others wounded in an explosion at an ammunition depot at a base in the southeast.

The Defense Ministry previously said on Friday that 25 soldiers were wounded and seven others were missing following an unexplained accident during the firing of heavy weapons ammunition. The blast occurred at a base in Hakkari province, bordering Iraq and Iran. The base is mainly used for operations targeting outlawed Kurdish rebels.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — speaking at a memorial marking the 80th anniversary of the death of the Turkish republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk — said the incident involved an ammunition depot explosion and resulted in four deaths. He later told reporters before departing for Paris that seven soldiers were killed and 25 others were wounded in the explosion.

Four of the wounded were in serious condition and were being evacuated by helicopter to a hospital in Ankara, Erdogan said. The others were hospitalized in Hakkari province.

The president said the cause of the blast was under investigation.

It wasn’t clear if the explosion occurred during training or a clash against rebels.

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