The Turkish Health Ministry has reportedly sent 12 ambulances and two helicopters to the site.A car bomb blast exploded at a police headquarters in the town of Cizre in Turkey’s Sirnak district on Friday. While initial reports from AP said that the attack claimed the lives of 8 police officers, Reuters, quoting NTV broadcaster, has said that 11 people died in the attack. Around 78 people have been reportedly injured.
Though there was no immediate claim of responsibility, agencies reported Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency blamed the attack on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for the attack which targeted a checkpoint some 50 meters away from a police station. It said the blast caused severe damage to the police station.
Early pictures showed that the police building had been completely gutted by the power of the blast, reduced to a shell surrounded by a pile of rubble. Adjacent buildings sustained severe damage and some were still on fire, television pictures showed.
News channel NTV showed large plumes of smoke billowing from the site which it said was a police checkpoint. Cizre is located in Sirnak, a province that borders both Syria and Iraq and has a largely Kurdish population.
The Turkish Health Ministry has reportedly sent 12 ambulances and two helicopters to the site.
Following the attack, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that the PKK and YPG are attacking to take advantage of the failed coup attempt. Kurtulmus tweeted, “Turkey is determined to protect its borders and security,” adding that, “Turkey supports territorial integrity of Syria and Iraq, against further fragmentation in the region.”
The government has blamed the PKK for a series of attacks this month in the southeast. The group has claimed responsibility for at least one attack, on a police station. On Monday, August 22, one soldier was killed and three police officers wounded in a clash with Kurdish militants.
The latest attack comes two days after Turkish forces launched an unprecedented offensive in neighbouring Syria which the authorities say is aimed both at jihadists and Syrian Kurdish militia. Turkey Thursday shelled the Kurdish militia fighters in Syria, saying they were failing to observe a deal with the US to stop advancing in jihadist-held territory.PKK has been involved in almost daily clashes in the region since last July, when a ceasefire between it and the government collapsed. Militants of the have carried out a string of car bomb attacks on police and military in recent months.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died since the rebels took up arms in 1984.