ISTANBUL, TURKEY: Five people were killed and 39 wounded today in a car bomb attack by Kurdish militants on a police station and adjacent housing for officers in southeastern Turkey, the provincial governorate said.
Two people were killed in an initial car bomb attack by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the town of Cinar while three more lost their lives when a building collapsed due to the damage sustained, the governor’s office of Diyarbakir province said in a statement.
Images published by Turkish media showed the late night blast caused huge damage to the residential building used by the police officers and their families, with the entire outer wall blown out.
Both police and civilians were wounded but initial reports said all those killed were civilians.
The governor’s office said that 14 people were injured in the initial bomb blast while 25 were wounded by the collapse of the building, including five who had been rescued from the rubble by emergency teams.
The attackers also followed up the car bomb attack with rocket fire and long range gunfire, reports said. It was not clear if this caused any additional casualties.
The PKK launched a formal insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984, initially fighting for Kurdish independence although it now presses more for greater autonomy and rights for the country’s largest ethnic minority.
The conflict has left tens of thousands dead.
A new upsurge of violence between the security forces and the PKK erupted in July in the wake of attacks blamed on Islamic extremists, shattering a fragile two-and-a-half-year truce.
Vowing to flush out the PKK from Turkey’s urban centres, the authorities have in recent weeks enforced curfews in three locations in the southeast to back up military operations that activists say have killed dozens of civilians.
A curfew has been in force in the Sur neighbourhood of Diyarbakir city since December 2 while curfews in the towns of Silopi and Cizre in Sirnak province have been in place since December 14.
Ten German tourists were killed on Tuesday in a suicide bombing in central Istanbul which the government blamed on ISIS, an arch foe of the PKK.
But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after the Istanbul attack that the government makes no differentiation between “terror” groups “whatever their name or abbreviation is”