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13 arrested in Istanbul bombings

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  • Attack was conducted by "bloody separatist group," Interior minister says
  • 2 explosions, minutes apart, hit residential area in Turkey's largest city Sunday
  • Those arrested were responsible for earlier bombing June 15, says minister
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ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) -- Turkish authorities have arrested 13 people in connection with blasts that killed 17 people in Istanbul last week, Interior Minister Besir Atalay said Saturday.

Video from last week's bombing in Istanbul shows bloodied people being loaded into ambulances.

Video from last week's bombing in Istanbul shows bloodied people being loaded into ambulances.

Of those arrested, 10 were sent to judicial court, Atalay said in a televised news conference. He described the attack as the "work of the bloody separatist group," but did not identify a group by name.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts, which went off within minutes of each other in Istanbul's crowded Gungoren community.

About 154 people were wounded, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Istanbul Gov. Muammer Guler, who called the blasts "an act of terror," said last week that the explosive devices were placed 15 meters (49 feet) from each other. The first was a stun grenade that was detonated to draw attention before the second blast went off, he said.

The other, a bomb, had been placed in a trash can.

Turkey -- a candidate for European Union membership -- has pushed its anti-terror campaign on multiple fronts.

Tensions between Turkey » and Kurdish rebels have risen over the Kurdistan Workers' Party's increasing attacks and Turkey's subsequent crackdown. The rebels, known as the PKK, have waged a decades-long battle for an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey's southeast.


Last month, 86 people -- including former military officials, journalists, politicians and businessmen -- were indicted on charges of being involved with an alleged terror group called Ergenekon, which aims to topple the Turkish government.

The arrests and indictments dramatize the sharp and serious political tensions between the country's Islam-rooted ruling party -- the Justice and Development Party, or AKP -- and its outspoken critics from the nation's secularist population.

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