Mortars Allegedly Fired from Syria Strike Turkish School, Killing Two

An explosion thought to be the result of Syrian shelling killed two and injured as many as four more at a middle school in the Turkish city of Kilis, near the border with Syria, according to reports Monday morning.

The mayor of Kilis, Hasan Kara, said that the blast at the Eyup Gokceimam Middle School may have been caused by “two or more mortars” fired from Syria, one of which hit the school and the other landed in an empty field. Kilis is five miles from the border, across from a 60-mile strip of Syrian territory controlled by the Islamic State.

“We believe the mortar shells came from Syria. One of them hit the garden of a school. Fortunately, others did not hit any buildings,” Kara said.

The injured parties, including an unspecified number of schoolchildren, were rushed by ambulance to the public hospital in Kilis and the school has been evacuated.

Besides the injured persons, the explosion damaged the schoolyard as well as a car parked in the area.

A Turkish government official confirmed that several people had been wounded in the explosion, but did not confirm the deaths, which were reported by Turkey’s Haberturk newspaper.

According to a government official, the Turkish authorities are investigating the gravity and extent of the damage, as well as the cause of the blast, which occurred around 9:30am local time. Provincial governor Süleyman Tapsız has personally gone to inspect the site.

Also in Turkey, three policemen were killed and four others injured late Sunday night in an attack attributed to rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The attack occurred in the town of Idil in the Sirnak province, near the Syrian border, when a bomb blast struck a police convoy.

Turkey has become a target for Islamic State militants, partly because of the U.S.-led coalition against the jihadists. Last week, authorities blamed ISIS for a suicide bombing in Istanbul that killed 11 foreign tourists, and Islamist bombings in Ankara and Suruc killed more than 135 people last year.

After last Tuesday’s Istanbul bombing, Turkey bombarded Islamic State positions in Syria and Iraq, killing some 200 ISIS militants, according to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome


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