44 killed in attack on Turkish wedding (Second Lead)

May 5th, 2009 - 8:19 am ICT by IANS  

Ankara, May 5 (DPA) At least 44 people were killed and 17 injured Monday night in an armed attack on a wedding celebration in southeastern Turkey, officials confirmed Tuesday morning.
Four masked attackers threw hand grenades and fired automatic weapons on wedding guests in Bilge village in Mardin province, the Dogan news agency reported. Many of those killed and injured were women and children. It was not clear whether the bride or groom were among the casualties.

The reason behind the attack was not clear, but Mardin Deputy Governor Ahmet Ferhat Ozen ruled out an attack by the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) that operates in the southeast, leaving Turkish media to speculate that the attack could be related to a family feud.

Turkish media had earlier reported erroneously that the killings were the result of a fight between the families of the bride and groom.

A large number of village guards, state-employed and armed militiamen, work in Bilge and surrounding villages, Turkish media reported.

Security forces were deployed around the village and Turkish reporters were denied access to the scene of the murders.

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