People gather at the site of a blast which killed and injured a number of people in Reyhanli, near Turkey's border with Syria, Saturday, May 11, 2013. Two car bombs exploded in a Turkish town near the border with Syria on Saturday, killing at least four people and injuring 22 others, officials and media reports said. (AP Photo/IHA) TURKEY OUT
ANKARA, Turkey—Two car bombs exploded in a Turkish town near the border with Syria on Saturday, killing at least 18 people and injuring more than 22 others, officials and media reports said.
Interior Minister Muammer Guler told private NTV television that the explosions hit the town of Reyhanli, just across the border from Syria’s Idlib province. One of the car bombs exploded outside the city hall while the other went off outside the post office, he said.
Guler said the number of injured had risen above 22 people, but he did not specify.
There was no immediate confirmation of Syrian involvement. Turkey, which shares a more than 500-mile border with Syria, has been a crucial supporter of the Syrian rebel cause and Ankara has allowed its territory to be used as a logistics base and staging center for Syrian insurgents.
At least 15 ambulances were helping the injured, the health ministry said. There was no immediate information on the identities of the victims.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed from Berlin that Turkey would act. “Those who for whatever reason attempt to bring the external chaos into our country will get a response,” he said.
The frontier area has seen heavy fighting between rebels and the Syrian regime. In February, a car bomb exploded at a border crossing with Turkey in Idlib, killing 14. Turkey’s interior minister has blamed Syria’s intelligence agencies and its army for involvement.
Four Syrians and a Turk are in custody in connection with the Feb. 11 attack at the Bab al-Hawa frontier post. No one has claimed responsibility, but a Syrian opposition faction accused the Syrian government of the bombing, saying it narrowly missed 13 leaders of the group.
In that bombing, most of the victims were Syrians who had been waiting in an area straddling the frontier for processing to enter Turkey.
Tensions flared between the Syrian regime and Turkey after shells fired from Syria landed on the Turkish side, prompting Germany, the Netherlands and the United States to send two batteries of Patriot air defense missiles each to protect their NATO ally.