BILGE, Turkey, (AFP) - Masked gunmen stormed a wedding party in Turkeys Kurdish region firing machine guns in an attack which left 44 people dead - most of them women and children, authorities said Tuesday. Eight people have been arrested over what Interior Minister Besir Atalay said was a blood feud between rival families in the village of Bilge in the southeastern Mardin province. Four masked men entered the village square from different directions late Monday, just after a Muslim preacher had completed the wedding ceremony, and opened fire on the crowd, witnesses told AFP. They then stormed several houses, continuing to shoot, they said. The bride, the groom, his parents and four-year-old sister as well as the villages imam were all killed in the attack, authorities and witnesses said. One 19-year-old woman said the attackers herded women and children into a room in one house and sprayed them with bullets, according to a witness account relayed by a local official. Initial witness accounts said the attackers had also hurled hand grenades, but a senior local official told the Anatolia news agency that they had used automatic weapons only. The assailants escaped in the dark as a sandstorm cut visibility in the area, which is near the Syrian border. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said six children, 17 women and 21 men were among the dead. Three other villagers were wounded, he added. The interior minister said the massacre was not linked to terrorism - a reference to separatist Kurdish rebels active in the region and appeared to have been triggered by a feud between villagers. An initial assessment suggests that the attack was triggered by enmity and dispute between families. We are still working on the case so I do not want to speak in definite terms, Atalay told a news conference before going to Bilge. The eight men detained in connection with the attack all hailed from the village and were from the same family as some of the victims, Atalay said.