Turkish forces disable bomb in vehicle in south-east: Sources

Police officers search a car during a security control check in central Ankara, Turkey on March 17, 2016.
Police officers search a car during a security control check in central Ankara, Turkey on March 17, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

DIYARBAKIR (Reuters) - Turkish bomb-disposal experts disabled an explosive device in a vehicle found overnight near a government building in south-east Turkey, security sources said on Friday (March 18) as a recent spate of bomb attacks prompted security warnings in major cities.

The vehicle was found with 150kg of explosives in the town of Hani in the mainly Kurdish region's Diyarbakir province, the sources said. Police were examining security cameras in the area as part of the investigation.

Kurdish militants on Thursday claimed a suicide bombing in Ankara that killed 37 people this week and warned of further attacks, while Germany shut down its diplomatic missions and schools in Turkey.

The US embassy in Ankara issued a statement overnight saying its citizens "should be mindful of their security precautions", noting Kurdish New Year (Newroz) celebrations taking place this weekend and saying large events can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

"The US Embassy also reminds individuals that terrorist organisations have targeted transportation hubs, Turkish government facilities, and public spaces in the recent past," it said.

Last Sunday's suicide bombing was the second in a month in the heart of Ankara claimed by the TAK militant group, opening a dangerous new phase in Turkey's war with Kurdish militants as deadly attacks spread to its biggest cities well beyond the south-east where conflict is usually focused.