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LOCAL > Two killed after attack on gendarmerie in Turkey amid suspicions of Syrian involvement

NİĞDE – Doğan News Agency

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A gendarmerie soldier and a police officer were killed while four soldiers were injured in an armed attack on a unit performing traffic checks on a highway in the Central Anatolian province of Niğde on March 20.

Two of the injured soldiers are in critical condition, Doğan News Agency reported.

Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said the information he had received pointed to Syrian links with the attack, saying some people might want to cause unrest before the elections.

“We have not suffered terrorist attacks for a long time and there is a big deal of satisfaction about it in the Turkish public,” Atalay told reporters. “But it is understood that it is not an internal terror attack but is coming from outside Turkey, to poison the pre-election atmosphere.”

Atalay said he was informed that the alleged assailants did not speak Turkish and added the information note given to him suggested a Syrian link to the attack.  

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has described the incident as a “vicious terror attack.”

Two assailants captured

Two assailants were captured alive after an operation that took approximately an hour, while another is still on the run, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.

Police said those captured were speaking Arabic, daily Hürriyet reported.

According to Doğan Agency, armed men opened fire from a delivery car with long-range shotguns near a viaduct in the district of Ulukışla. The vehicle then continued en route to Aksaray further north, the report said.

Gendarmerie officers were searching for the assailants after reports that they had taken one person hostage in a village in the Ulukşla district. 

The suspects opened fire after officers called on them to surrender, the report also said.

One of the inured soldiers said that one of the assailants had also thrown a grenade. Another witness told reporters that many cars were in the middlen of cross fire ore people could have been resulted harmed.

The windows of a bus was smashed and a passenger injured in the fight.

Police immediately launched an extensive search, in coordination with the gendarmerie, and helicopters have been dispatched from Ankara and Adana to track the assailants.

Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said the timing of the incident was worthy of attention and urged the government to find the culprits.

“The government should inform the public on who was captured and the motive for the attack,” he said.

March/20/2014

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