Police Officers Killed, Dozens Wounded in Attacks Near Turkey’s Southeast Border

Members of the Turkish police special forces secure a street after a military truck hit and killed a local woman in an accident in the Kurdish-dominated southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey April 27, 2016. Security has been an issue in Turkey's volatile southeast, with the a car-bomb attack in Gaziantep on Sunday killing 1 police officer and wounding 13 people. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar

By Seyhmus Cakan and Humeyra Pamuk

ISTANBUL, May 1 (Reuters) – Two police officers were killed and 23 people wounded in a car bomb attack on police headquarters in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep, the provincial governor and police sources said, in one of two attacks on security forces on Sunday.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility; but Turkey has suffered attacks recently both from Kurdish militants and Daesh fighters, raising uncertainty at home and among NATO allies about spillover of conflict from neighbouring Syria.

A bomb-laden vehicle was detonated outside the gates of police headquarters on a street housing several other provincial government buildings whose windows were shattered.

Footage from broadcaster CNN Turk showed forensics experts collecting pieces of the wrecked vehicle as well as rubble strewn by the blast felt across the city.

Police cordoned off the scene and police carrying rifles patrolled the area. Gunfire was heard at the time of the explosion and a second car was reported to have been driven away from the scene, CNN Turk’s correspondent said.

Nineteen police officers and four civilians were wounded in the attack, a statement from Gaziantep governor Ali Yerlikaya’s office said. One police officer died at the scene and a second in hospital, a security source said.


Several hundred miles eastwards along the same border, in the town of Nusaybin, three Turkish soldiers were killed and 14 others wounded in an armed attack by Kurdish militants during a military operation, an army statement said.

Turkey is facing security threats on several fronts. As part of a U.S.-led coalition, it is fighting Daesh in neighbouring Syria and Iraq and battling Kurdish PKK militants in its southeast, where a 2-1/2-year ceasefire collapsed last July, triggering the worst violence since the 1990s.

Turkish military sources said on Sunday drones from the U.S.-led coalition had struck a Daesh explosives depot in the northern Syrian town of Dabiq, drawing on intelligence from Ankara. Two Daesh militants outside the building were killed and several others were thought to have been inside.

The province of Gaziantep, bordering Daesh-held Syrian territory, is home to a large Syrian refugee population and there have been several police raids on suspected Daesh militants there over the past months.

A wave of suicide bombings this year, including two in its largest city Istanbul, have been blamed on Daesh, and two in the capital Ankara were claimed by a Kurdish militant group.

Last week a female suicide bomber blew herself up next to a mosque on a busy street in Turkey’s fourth largest city of Bursa, wounding eight people.

Turkey has also faced attacks from far-left groups, mostly on police and security forces.

The town of Kilis just across from Syria has also been increasingly targeted by Daesh rockets over the past few months. On Sunday, three rockets wounded two people. More than 50 rockets have landed killing 18 people since January.

Hurriyet newspaper reported that four suspected Daesh militants plotting an attack on May Day celebrations in Ankara had been detained by counter-terrorism units overnight,

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