Car bomb kills 2 and wounds 22 at Turkish police station

People walk past a fire during a May Day rally in Okmeydani. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
People walk past a fire during a May Day rally in Okmeydani. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

A car bomb struck the entrance of a police station yesterday in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, killing two police officers and wounding 22 other people, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.

Four civilians were among those injured in the explosion, according to Governor Ali Yerlikaya of Gaziantep province. The blast shattered the windows of nearby buildings.

The police station is close to offices for the governor and mayor. Gaziantep is also home to the offices of international aid organisations focused on the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

Police later raided the home of a suspected member of the so-called Islamic State group, who is believed to have carried out the attack.

His father was last night detained for DNA testing, according to media reports.

However, there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. A Turkish interior ministry official, said investigations were ongoing.

Turkey has suffered multiple bombings in recent months linked either to Kurdish militants or the Islamic State group.

May 1 International Labour Day demonstrations in Gaziantep were cancelled for security reasons, the private Dogan news agency reported.

Speaking in Ankara, the Turkish capital, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu expressed his condolences and wished a speedy recovery to those wounded in “the heinous terrorist attack.”

Police in Ankara, meanwhile, carried out anti-terror operations overnight and detained four suspected IS members allegedly planning to attack May Day demonstrators, the Anadolu Agency reported.

In Istanbul, police imposed tight security measures and used water cannons and tear gas on May Day demonstrators who sought to rally in non-designated areas. One man died after being run over by a water cannon vehicle, according to local media.

Turkey, which is facing both growing blowback from the conflict in Syria and renewed conflict with Kurdish militants, has seen a rise of deadly attacks across the country. In the past year, more than 200 people across the country have been killed in six major bombings.

In a separate incident yesterday, eight people were wounded after four rockets hit Kilis, another town near the Syrian border, Anadolu reported. Three Syrians were among the injured.

The news agency said the Turkish military retaliated by firing at IS targets across the border in Syria, killing nine militants. It was not possible to verify the agency’s claim.

Kilis, where Syrian refugees outnumber locals, has been hammered by cross-border fire since mid-January. There have been a total of 18 fatalities in that period.

The wider province of Kilis borders areas in Syria that are contested by Kurdish factions, IS militants and rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.