Turkey: 2 car bombs kill 40, injure 100 in Reyhanlı near Syria border – 110513 1525z

40 killed, 100 injured in blast on Turkey-Syria border, minister says

(Photo: todayszaman.com)

Explosions shake in Turkish town on Syria border Todays Zaman


(Video credit: Todays Zaman)

(Video credit: Mustafa Akıncı)

Video purports to show damage, seconds after car-bomb blasts killed at least 40 in Turkey –

11 May 2013 /TODAYSZAMAN.COM WITH WIRES, İSTANBUL

At least 40 people were killed and dozens of others were injured when explosions shook a Turkish town on Saturday near the border with Syria where mortar fire has in the past spilled over from Syrias civil war.

The death toll rose throughout the day as many of the injured were critically wounded. Interior Minister Muammer Gler told private NTV channel that the number of people who were killed in the blasts was 40. He added that at least 100 people were injured, 29 of them heavily injured.

Although initial reports said four blasts occurred near the municipality offices in the town of Reyhanlı in the southern Turkish province of Hatay, Gler said there were two blasts caused by two bomb-laden vehicles. He said the explosions occured near the municipality and post offices.

The minister added that they fear the number of casualties may increase. Health Minister Mehmet Mezzinoğlu said 15 ambulances were dispatched to the area.

Tensions ran high in the district after the blast with locals reportedly attacking Syrian-plated cars and Syrian refugees. Tensions have already been high in the district for a couple of weeks. Recently, Syrian youths got into a fight with Turkish youths in Reyhanlı, which hosts a large number of Syrian refugees. Following the fight, the Turkish group carried Turkish flags around the city and protested the presence of the Syrians.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed from Berlin that Turkey would act. Those who for whatever reason attempt to bring the external chaos into our country will get a response, he said. Davutoğlu called the incident an act of provocation, saying there may be some powers who want to sabotage peace in Turkey.

In initial comments, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said nearly 20 people died in the blast. We have around 20 dead and 46 people were injured, but we have to note that many of the injuries are severe, which means the death toll could unfortunately rise, Erdogan said in comments broadcast on Turkish television.

I would like to send a message to my brothers in Reyhanlı. We have recently launched a settlement process [to address the conflict in the southeast] and those who cannot digest this new period and the atmosphere of freedom in our country can be involved in such attacks.

Another sensitive issue is that Hatay province (where the explosions occurred) is on the border with Syria, these actions may have been taken to provoke those sensitivities, he said.

Erdoğan said this week that Turkey would support a US-enforced no-fly zone in Syria and warned that Damascus crossed President Barack Obamas red line on chemical weapons use long ago.

A no-fly zone to prohibit Syrian military aircraft from hitting rebel targets has been mentioned by American lawmakers as one option the United States could use to pressure Assad.

Erdoğan is due to meet Obama in Washington on May 16.

Violence has spilled over the border before.

In February, a minibus blew up at a border crossing near Reyhanlı, killing 14 people and wounding dozens more.

The Syrian opposition said one of its delegations appeared to have been the target of that attack, but there has been no confirmation of this from the Turkish authorities.

In October, five Turkish civilians were killed in Akakale when a mortar bomb fired from Syria landed on their house, prompting Turkey to fire back across the frontier.

Turkey is sheltering more than 300,000 Syrians, most of them in camps along the 900-km (560-mile) frontier, and is struggling to keep up with the influx. Todays Zaman

Blasts kill dozens in Turkish border town of Reyhanli

BBC

Injured person evacuated from blast site - 11 May The explosions caused panic in the town

Car bombs have killed 40 people and injured 100 in the Turkish town of Reyhanli, near the Syrian border, Turkeys interior minister says.

Muammer Guler told Turkeys NTV that two bombs had gone off in the town near the town hall and post office.

Video from the scene showed injured people being carried to safety in rubble-strewn streets, amid shattered buildings and twisted wrecks of cars.

The town is an entry-point for refugees from the war in Syria.

Local people attacked cars with Syrian number-plates and Syrian refugees after the attack, according to local media.

Emergency services looked for possible victims buried under the debris.

No group said they had carried out the attack.

All necessary measures

Responding to news of the bombing, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey would protect itself.

There may be those who want to sabotage Turkeys peace, but we will not allow that, he said during a visit to Berlin.

Turkey map

No-one should attempt to test Turkeys power. Our security forces will take all necessary measures.

He added that the blasts had taken place to deflect attention from efforts to solve the Syrian crisis.

The border area of Reyhanli has itself been attacked in recent months.

In February, 13 people were killed and more than 20 others wounded when a mortar round landed close to a border gate.

Five people were killed last October when a mortar round hit the Turkish border town of Akcakale.

The Turkish government has been a key supporter of the Syrian opposition, and has allowed rebels as well as refugees on to its territory.

But tensions in the Reyhanli area have been high for several weeks, reports say, with clashes between Turkish and Syrian youths.

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