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Turkish leaders call for unity after deadly car bombing

The president, prime minister and party leaders gathered in Gaziantep at a funeral for the victims of the attack that killed nine people on Monday. No group has claimed responsibility, yet.

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Officials work at the scene of an explosion in the southeastern Turkish town of Gaziantep, Monday. After a car bomb exploded close to a police station in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep, Turkish political leaders call for unity.

Ihlas/Habip Demirci/Reuters

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Turkey's leaders called for unity on Wednesday following a car bomb attack which heightened fears that Kurdish militants are exploiting chaos in neighboring Syria and stepping up their decades-old insurgency.

Unidentified assailants detonated the car bomb by a police station in the industrial city of Gaziantep near the Syrian border late on Monday, killing nine people including several children and wounding more than 60.

'Stand side by side'

The president, prime minister and party leaders gathered in the city at a funeral for the victims of the attack, which came as families celebrated the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

"The best answer we as a nation can give is to form a (united) front and stand side by side, whatever our differences ... in the face of this act of terrorism," President Abdullah Gul told reporters after arriving in Gaziantep.

Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan lined up with other officials and said prayers in front of coffins wrapped in the red-and-white Turkish flag at a mosque in the city as tearful relatives looked on.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but some officials point the finger at the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, whose 28-year-old conflict with the state has killed more than 40,000 people. The PKK denied involvement.

Possible Syrian links

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