44 dead in attack on wedding in Turkey
ANKARA, Turkey - Masked assailants with grenades and automatic weapons attacked a wedding ceremony in southeast Turkey yesterday, killing 44 people and wounding 20 others. Two girls survived after the bodies of slain friends fell on top of them during the onslaught.
Deputy Governor Ferhat Ozen of Mardin province told NTV television that the nighttime attack occurred in Bilge village near the city of Mardin. Some media outlets reported that a "blood feud" among families had led to the killings in a region where tribal ties and rivalries sometimes eclipse the power of the state.
Citing Ozen, NTV said the motive could be an old feud between rival groups of pro-government village guards who fight alongside Turkish troops against Kurdish rebels in the region.
Mehmet Besir Ayanoglu, the mayor of Mardin, told Turkey's Channel 24 that he spoke to two survivors, both girls, who said at least two masked men stormed a house where the wedding took place.
Other reports put the number of assailants at four.
Anatolia news agency said at least 44 died and three were seriously injured. NTV reported the same death toll and said 20 were wounded.