World News

Kurdish group TAK claims responsibility for Istanbul airport attack

A general view of the main entrance of Sabiha Gokcen Airport of Istanbul is seen in this picture taken late February 7, 2014. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

ANKARA (Reuters) - A Kurdish militant group once linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has claimed responsibility for an attack at Istanbul’s second airport this week that left an aircraft cleaner dead and injured another.

In a statement, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) said they carried out the mortar attack on Wednesday at Sabiha Gokcen airport that also damaged five aircraft.

The group has in the past claimed responsibility for some attacks outside the PKK’s regular area of operation in the mainly Kurdish southeast, such as a 2012 assault on a Turkish military bus that killed two soldiers and injured 12 people in a coastal resort town.

TAK has said the relationship with PKK militants has been severed. Both groups are regarded as terrorist organisations by Ankara and the United States.

A two-year ceasefire between the PKK and Ankara fell apart in July and the southeast has been plunged back into a decades-old conflict which has killed more than 40,000 people.

The PKK wants greater autonomy for Turkey’s Kurdish minority.

Reporting by Gulsen Solaker and Ece Toksabay; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Andrew Roche