Two Syrians were killed when a homemade explosive device they were building accidentally detonated in the Reyhanlı district of the southeastern province of Hatay on July 6, as Turkish security officials were investigating whether the men had any links to terror organizations.
“An explosion took place in a house in the Kanatlı neighborhood of the Reyhanlı district at around 4:30 p.m. Two Syrians, who were wounded while preparing explosives according to the initial examinations, were taken to the hospital,” a statement released from the Hatay Governor’s Office read, while adding that the wounded later succumbed to their injuries.
Reports indicated the blast occurred on the second floor of a three-story apartment on Şehit Sedat Pişen Street near the district’s center.
The two Syrian men, identified as Usam Isa and Rahmi Hadad, sustained serious injuries, as their limbs were dismembered during the explosion, before they succumbed to their wounds at a local hospital.
A third person, a Syrian woman, was also in the apartment at the time of the explosion, the investigation into the incident has revealed, but she survived the blast as she was in the kitchen. The woman, whose identity was not disclosed to the press, was detained.
Police also seized a pistol and a silencer while searching the apartment.
“A gun and a silencer were seized from the house in the search conducted by security personnel. An investigation into the case was launched and information will be shared on the developments regarding the incident,” the statement from the governor’s office added.
Meanwhile, crime scene investigators failed to determine the type of explosive device the Syrians were trying to build but samples were sent to a criminology lab for further tests to provide a definitive answer.
The police searched the house under strict security measures and bomb disposal teams were called to the area after becoming suspicious of a car belonging to the Syrians. The car was taken to the police headquarters after it was searched and no explosive device was discovered.
According to reports, Isa and Hadad settled in the Reyhanlı house around two months ago. Both had foreign identity cards issued by Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), a main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker claimed, and the police were investigating whether they had any involvement with terror organizations.
The explosion triggered criticism from the CHP, as the party’s Hatay deputy, Hilmi Yarayıcı, accused the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of turning the country into a “war base.”
“This incident is tangible evidence that it is unknown [by the government] which of the nearly 4 million Syrian citizens who seek refuge in our country are actual asylum seekers and which are jihadist killers,” Yarayıcı said, adding that restlessness has evolved into fear in the southeastern province, which shares a border with war-torn Syria and has lately been a target of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) rocket attacks.