February 13, 2015 / 9:31 AM / 3 years ago

Bomb blast hits Turkish checkpoint near Syrian border, three hurt: sources

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - A bomb detonated by remote control rocked an area near a Turkish police checkpoint close to the Syrian border on Friday, wounding three people, security sources said, the latest in a series of bombings to hit Turkey this year.

The sources told Reuters the explosives were placed under a car and detonated near the town of Suruc, some 15 km (9 miles) north of the Syrian town of Kobani, where Kurdish fighters forced out Islamic State militants after a four-month siege.

There were no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, which is likely to put police on heightened alert after recent blasts in Istanbul. The proximity to Syria will raise concerns the attack is related to the conflict there.

A photograph published by Turkish media showed a charred and badly damaged vehicle with its windows blown out and smoke rising from the bonnet.

The wounded, a police officer and two workers, were being treated in hospital for injuries caused by the explosion, which occurred at 0840 GMT (0340 ET). The sources initially said two people were hurt.

Bomb disposal experts at the scene were investigating to determine the type of the explosives, the sources said.

The retaking of the predominantly Kurdish Kobani by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) at the end of last month was a major defeat for the Islamic State group that controls a 20,000-square mile arc of Syria and Iraq.

Various militant groups, Islamist, Kurdish and leftist, have all carried out bomb attacks in Turkey.

Last month a suicide bomber killed herself and a police officer in Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s historic center, a prime tourist destination.

A leftist militant group initially claimed responsibility, then retracted the claim. Later, media cited police sources as saying the bomber was a Russian citizen from the Muslim regions of Chechnya or Dagestan, with links to Islamic State.

Hundreds of fighters from Russia’s north Caucasus, including Chechnya, are believed to have traveled through Turkey to fight with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and European governments have urged Ankara to tighten border controls to prevent the flow of foreign fighters.

Five days after the Sultanahmet bombing, homemade explosive devices were found in two Istanbul shopping malls and defused. A week after that, a bomb exploded in central Istanbul and police detonated two others in controlled explosions.

Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by David Dolan and Alison Williams

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