LONDON: At least 28 people were killed and over a 100 wounded when a bomb exploded in the Turkish town of Suruc, just 10 km from the town of Kobani across the Turkish-Syrian border. The area has seen pitched fighting as Kobani has acquired centre stage in the battle against the Islamic State, with international-coalition backed Kurdish militias taking on the sunni militant group.

Initial reports suggest that the Islamic State may be behind the attack in Suruc -- making it the Iraq and Syria based group’s first attack in neighbouring Turkey. "Our initial evidence shows that this was a suicide attack by Islamic State," Reuters quoted a senior official saying. Reports also indicate it was a female suicide bomber -- in line with the militant group’s increasingly frequent use of female bombers.

Suruc is a mostly Kurdish town, with the general perception being that the attack was in protest of Turkey’s opposition to the Islamic State. Reuters quoted an unnamed official based in Ankara saying the attack was in "retaliation for the Turkish government's efforts to fight terrorism.”

(Source: The Independent: People search for survivors of the bomb blast in Suruc, Turkey).

(Source: The Independent: A wounded man in Suruc, Turkey, where at least 28 were killed and nearly 100 injuried in a suicide attack).

The blast tore through a group of university students from an activist group as they gathered to make an announcement on their plans to help rebuild Kobani. The Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF) reportedly had at least 300 members staying at the Amara Culture Centre in Suruc -- the site of the explosion. Pictures taken earlier in the day show members of the group relaxing.

(The Federation of Socialist Youth Associations tweeted this picture before the explosion).

A video released on social media apparently shows the blast. The students are seen chanting slogans whilst holding the federation's flags and a large banner with the words: "We defended it together, we are building it together." A blast then rips through the crowd.

Images that have emerged after the blast show dead bodies covered with newspapers and flags.

(Source: AFP/Getty: Newspapers and flags used to cover the bodies at the site of the attack).

The Hurriyet daily said the attacker was an 18-year old woman. The governor of Sanliurfa Province, Izzet Kucut told the BBC: "It is a suicide attacker but is she/he 18 years old? Who is she/he? We don't know yet. We will share the results of our investigation in due time."

However, BBC Turkish quoted the district governor of Suruc, Abdullah Ciftci saying that "The fact that it is a suicide attack increases the possibility that IS is responsible. We think the attacker was a woman. Preliminary findings show that she was acting on her own.”

The blast also follows a move by the Turkish government to deploy more troops along the border to prevent spillover from the fighting in Kobani.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack, describing it as an “act of terror.” A statement by Turkey’s Interior Ministry said, "We call on everyone to stand together and remain calm in the face of this terrorist attack which targets the unity of our country."

The blast is one of the deadliest attacks on Turkish soil. Suruc is a small Kurdish-majority city near the city of Kobani. Kurdish activists in Suruc played a vital role in helping defend Kobani, sending medicines and other essential supplies across the border.

The hashtags #SuruçtaKatliamVar (There is a massacre in Suruç) and #SuruçMassacre started trending on Twitter soon after the explosion.