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News Wrap: Bombing on Turkish peace rally stokes instability

In our news wrap Monday, political and ethnic tensions reached the boiling point in Turkey after deadly bombings over the weekend. Also, new battles erupted in Afghanistan as the Taliban attacked a new city.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Political and ethnic tensions in Turkey were at the boiling point today after deadly bombings in Ankara over the weekend.

    Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News reports on the day's developments.

  • JONATHAN RUGMAN:

    It was the biggest bomb attack Turkey has witnessed, the single biggest blow to its stability in decades.

    And even the death toll is disputed, like so much else. The pro-Kurdish opposition says 128 people were killed. The government says at least 97. Saturday's attack was upon this peace demonstration by Kurdish and leftist protesters.

    Two explosions were followed by police tear-gassing survivors, which only fed the assumption that the state, or dark forces within it, were behind the violence, though Turkey's prime minister said today the so-called Islamic State was the prime suspect.

  • MAN (through interpreter):

    It was definitely a suicide bombing. We have strong evidence for that.

  • JONATHAN RUGMAN:

    I.S. has a possible motive. By setting Kurds against Turks, it may be encouraging its twin enemies to go to war with each other instead.

    At this funeral of one of the Kurdish victims in Istanbul today, the mourners chanted that Turkey's president was the murderer, all this under the watchful gaze of riot police.

    In the mainly Kurdish southeast, you hear the same cry: "The president's a murderer."

  • MAN (through interpreter):

    Why are they carrying out these massacres against revolutionaries, socialists and those that are in favor of peace? Why can we never have a politician or a member of government suffering from these attacks? This clearly shows who carried out this massacre.

  • JONATHAN RUGMAN:

    Just up the road from that funeral, Turkish troops are advancing after airstrikes against the Kurdish PKK. The government's up for reelection in just three weeks' time, and by appearing strong, is not letting this national security crisis go to waste.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The violence in Turkey has spiked since another bombing in July that killed 33 people. That sparked renewed fighting between the military and the Kurdish PKK rebels.

    In Afghanistan, fighting intensified today as Taliban forces attacked a new city. This time, the battles centered around Ghazni, southwest of Kabul. Last month, the Taliban captured and held Kunduz in the north for three days. Also today, NATO announced two U.S. and two British soldiers died in a helicopter crash Sunday in Kabul.

    Government troops in Western Syria made fresh advances today with the help of Russian air support. The ground offensive aims to regain a stronghold of President Bashar Assad's. It's a village that would give them access to a main highway. Meanwhile, Russian jets again hit targets across Central Syria.

    But, as the air war intensified, President Vladimir Putin claimed Russia's role is strictly limited.

  • PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter):

    By no means do we want to get involved in any inter-religious conflicts in Syria. We have only one goal, which is to support the lawful authorities and to create conditions for political settlement. This is what we have based our actions on from the very beginning. And this is what we are guided by now.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The U.S. military answered Russia's air campaign today by airdropping ammunition and other supplies to rebels in Northern Syria.

    This was another day of bloodshed and death in and around Jerusalem, with a spate of new stabbings. Within a few hours, two Israeli policemen and two civilians were attacked in separate incidents. Two teenagers were shot dead by police. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Israeli Arab leaders of helping incite the violence.

    In economic news, computer giant Dell is buying data storage company EMC in the tech industry's largest takeover ever. The deal is valued at about $67 billion. It will help move Dell's focus away from traditional hardware, like personal computers, to storage and business services.

    Wall made a modest advance today, as investors waited for third-quarter profit reports. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 47 points to close above 17130. The Nasdaq rose eight points, and the S&P 500 added two.

    And nine former American prisoners of war have returned to Japan, seven decades after the end of World War II. The veterans, all in their '90s now, traveled with their families today to Yokohama to honor fellow servicemen who died in captivity. More than 130,000 Allied troops were held prisoner by the Japanese during the war. Almost a third of them perished.

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