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Monday, February 20, 2017
- (Al Jazeera) - At least 10 people have been killed and 30 others wounded following a car-bomb explosion near the border between Turkey and Syria, Turkish television reported.
A Syrian-registered car is believed to have been at the centre of Monday’s blast on Turkish soil, Huseyin Sanverdi told the NTV news channel. Dozens of ambulances were dispatched to the scene at the Cilvegozu border crossing in the southern Turkish province of Hatay.
Four Turkish nationals were among the dead. An official from Turkish foreign ministry confirmed the explosion, adding that the blast triggered a fire that damaged around 15 cars.
“We don’t know whether this was a suicide bomb or whether a car that was smuggling petrol across the border blew up,” one Turkish official told Reuters news agency. Television footage and photographs showed severe damage to a series of cars at the border, where a gate was blown open and part of the roof collapsed.
“There was an explosion in the no-man’s zone. It was not a mortar attack. It was very strong,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman said. The Cilvegozu border gate, several miles outside the town of Reyhanli, sits opposite the Syrian gate of Bab al-Hawa, which the rebels captured last July.
Refugees cross back and forth and Turkish lorries also deliver goods into no-man’s land between the two gates, where they are picked up by Syrians. In October, five Turkish civilians were killed when a mortar shell hit a house in the Turkish border town of Akcakale.
Turkey has always responded to cross-border gunfire and mortar rounds, and is currently hosting NATO Patriot missile batteries to defend against attacks from Syria.
*Published under an agreement with Al Jazeera.