Turkish capital Ankara rocked by suspected bomb blast

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Media captionA fire broke out but was quickly contained by firefighters

A suspected bomb blast has rocked the centre of the Turkish capital, Ankara, killing three people and wounding 15.

Turkey's deputy prime minister said there was "information that a bomb was planted" on a vehicle.

Thick smoke could be seen rising from the central commercial area of Kizilay.

Interior Minister Idris Sahin said it was "highly likely to be a terrorist attack". Kurdish, leftist and Islamic militants have carried out bomb attacks in Turkey in the past.

The blast was powerful enough to destroy six cars and shatter windows in Kizilay, which is surrounded by government ministries, says the BBC's Jonathan Head in Istanbul.

Mr Sahin said the attackers wanted to target as many people as possible, because the street where the blast occurred was normally very busy.

A fire broke out but was quickly contained by firefighters. Several vehicles were damaged and windows were blown out in nearby buildings.

Television images showed several parked cars ablaze in front of a local state authority's offices.

The area was quickly evacuated, for fear of further explosions and to allow ambulances to take away the casualties.

But the authorities are still not certain what caused the explosion - eyewitnesses have described a gas canister being thrown just before the blast.

The first car to explode was also found to have contained a gas canister, indicating another possible cause, says our correspondent.

There have been several bomb attacks in Turkey's main cities in recent years, many blamed on the Kurdish insurgent movement, the PKK.

However the last big attack in Ankara four years ago, which killed nine and injured 120, was blamed by police investigators on a lone, leftist suicide bomber.