Car bomb attack by Kurdish militants kills five, wounds 39 in southeast Turkey

14 Jan, 2016 2:42 pm

CINAR – Kurdish militants launched a car bomb attack on a police station in Turkey’s southeastern town of Cinar overnight, killing five people and wounding 39, the provincial governor’s office said on Thursday.

Militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) attacked the police station and adjoining accommodation in the town south of Diyarbakir, the region’s largest city, around 11:30 p.m. (10.30 p.m. BST), the governor’s office said in a statement.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

The mainly Kurdish region has been hit by a surge in violence since a two-year ceasefire between the state and the PKK collapsed last July, reigniting a conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people over three decades.

A Reuters witness at the scene said the blast caused extensive damage around the police station, smashing windows on buildings and vehicles and mangling the shutters on shops in streets littered with shrapnel.

“It was a really loud blast, as if it was in our house,” said Ali Devran, a resident in his 30s near the scene. “We went and helped carry the wounded to ambulances. Some suffered burns.”

Coinciding with the bomb attack, PKK fighters opened fire with rifles on a nearby security complex, triggering a firefight, but no casualties were reported, the statement said.

The relatives of two police officers were killed in the car bomb attack, along with three people whose bodies were pulled from the wreckage, it added. Six police officers were among the wounded being treated in nearby hospitals.

The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, says it is fighting for autonomy and greater rights for Kurds in the NATO-member country.

Since the PKK launched its insurgency in 1984, fighting has stayed largely in the countryside, but the latest violence has focussed on urban areas, where the PKK youth wing has set up barricades and dug trenches to keep out security forces.

Towns along the Syrian and Iraqi borders, along with a district of Diyarbakir, have been subjected to round-the-clock curfew for more than a month, as operations by security forces have targeted militants there.

Civilians have been caught in the middle. Figures from the pro-Kurdish HDP party show 87 civilians have been killed in Diyarbakir’s Sur and two towns near the southern borders since they were placed under curfew last month.

Thousands of people have left their homes in the towns. Residents complain of indiscriminate operations and say the curfews have even prevented the sick from getting to hospital. -Reuters

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