Turkey says Gaziantep attacker linked to IS

The perpetrator of a deadly car bombing that hit the Turkish city of Gaziantep near the Syrian border at the weekend is linked to the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, Turkey's interior minister said on Monday.

PTI| Last Updated: May 03, 2016, 01:38 AM IST

Ankara: The perpetrator of a deadly car bombing that hit the Turkish city of Gaziantep near the Syrian border at the weekend is linked to the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, Turkey's interior minister said on Monday.

The bomber "is a member of a terrorist organisation linked to Daesh," Interior Minister Efkan Ala said in televised remarks, using an alternative name for the jihadist group.

One policeman was killed when the car bomb went off outside the police headquarters in Gaziantep on Sunday morning. Another police officer later died of his wounds.

Ala said nearly 50 suspects had been detained in connection with the attack.

The announcement will intensify concerns about the risk of jihadist attacks in Turkey, which has already seen tourism fall sharply since the start of the year.

Turkey remains on high security alert after a series of attacks on its soil blamed on Kurdish militants and IS jihadists, who still control territory in Syria right up to the Turkish border.

Government spokesman and Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting the authorities had thwarted 49 suicide bombings in Turkey so far this year.

A radical Kurdish militant group, Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), on Sunday claimed a suicide bombing in Turkey's former Ottoman capital of Bursa last week, saying the female assailant had failed to reach her intended target.

Ala said that the bomber was a member of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state. The TAK is usually seen as a splinter group of the PKK.

A member of international coalition against IS group, Turkey has taken more robust action against IS jihadists since last summer.

The Turkish border town of Kilis has come under rocket fire from IS-controlled territory in recent weeks, prompting the army to respond with artillery fire.

In the latest strikes on Kilis on Monday, one person was killed and two wounded when Katyusha-type rockets hit an inhabited area in the town, the Dogan news agency reported.