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Blast outside Bursa's Grand Mosque blamed on suicide bomber

Up to 13 people injured and one killed in suspected suicide bombing in historic heart of northwestern Turkish city
A man receives first aid following Wednesday's blast in Bursa. At least 13 people suffered injuries (AFP)

A female suicide bomber blew herself up in the Turkish city of Bursa on Wednesday, wounding at least 13 people in the latest attack to strike the country, local officials said.

The bombing took place next to Bursa's 14th century Grand Mosque, a symbolic building in the historic northwestern city which was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire.

Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said that 13 people were wounded in the attack but none were in a critical condition.

The local governor's office said in a statement that the blast had been a suicide attack, with Turkish media identifying the bomber as a 25-year-old woman.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the blast.

The powerful explosion smashed windows in shops near the mosque, and television footage showed the injured being treated in ambulances.

Video footage posted on Twitter claimed to show the explosion on Ulucami Caddesi, directly next to the wall of the Grand Mosque.

Turkey is on high security alert after a series of deadly attacks since last summer blamed on the Islamic State (IS) group and Kurdish rebels.

Ankara launched an offensive against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) after the collapse in 2015 of a two-year ceasefire in a renewed conflict that has left many dead in the mainly Kurdish southeast of the country.

The conflict has also struck the heart of the country, with two attacks claimed by Kurdish militants killing dozens of people in the capital Ankara in February and March.

Four Israelis and an Iranian were also killed in a suicide attack on 19 March in Istanbul, while a January attack in the city's ancient touristic heart killed 11 German tourists.

Both of those bombings were blamed on IS, which was also behind the deadliest attack in Turkey's modern history - a double suicide bombing in Ankara that killed 103 people in October last year.

Wednesday's attack came just a day after the US embassy in Ankara issued a new security alert for Turkey.

"The US government continues to receive credible indications that terrorist groups are seeking opportunities to attack popular tourist destinations throughout Turkey," the embassy said on its website.

"The US embassy reminds US citizens that foreign tourists in Turkey have been explicitly targeted by terrorist organisations, and advises US citizens to be mindful of the potential for danger in crowded public areas and at popular tourist destinations."

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