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Turkey Arrests 16 after Vehicle Explosion in South

Turkey Arrests 16 after Vehicle Explosion in South

Tuesday, 9 July, 2019 - 09:15
Police arrest people in protests over the purge of Ankara university. Reuters file photo
Ankara - Saeed Abdelrazek
Turkish police have arrested 16 people for their suspected links to Friday’s explosion in the southern Hatay province that lies on the Syrian border.

Police carried out raids in the center of the Turkish town of Reyhanli as well as Hatay and Iskenderun districts to arrest the suspects after warrants were issued against them, provincial sources said.

The suspects were taken to the police station for questioning.

At least three people– all Syrian nationals – were killed after a vehicle exploded Friday some 750 meters away from the district governorate building in Reyhanli’s center.

Rahmi Dogan, governor of Hatay, said two Syrian nationals inside the car were killed in the explosion and the subsequent fire, and one other person later died at the burn unit in the hospital.

“It is clear that there was a bomb inside the vehicle,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters.

On May 11, 2013, a bomb-laden vehicle was detonated in Reyhanli’s center. It killed 53 people and injured 130 others. Back then, the Turkish authorities accused a group allied with the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad of carrying out the dual explosion, but Damascus denied any role.

In May, Turkey handed down 53 life sentences without parole to Yusuf Nazik, the man authorities say planned the 2013 attack. It also gave him a more than 5,306-year prison sentence for other crimes including attempted murder in addition to affiliation with a terrorist group and possession of explosives to use in terrorist activities.

Nazik was brought from Syria's port city of Latakia to Turkey by National Intelligence Agency (MIT) agents in September.

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