Turkish school hit by 'rocket fired by Isis' over nearby Syrian border

Military officials reportedly believe the explosion was caused by a rocket fired by Isis militants in Syria

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The Independent Online

At least one person is feared dead after a Turkish school was hit by a rocket reportedly fired by Isis in Syria.

Some reports said a teacher was killed and three children injured at the Eyüp Gökçeimam school in the city of Kilis, which lies less than three miles from the Syrian border, while others said two had died.

Military sources told the Daily Sabah newspaper that the weapons were believed to be Katyusha rockets fired by Isis, although it was unclear whether the school was deliberately targeted or accidentally hit during battles across the border.

Footage broadcast by CNN Turk showed hundreds of local residents rushing to check on their loved ones as ambulances, police and emergency services gathered.

A woman could be seen being treated by the school’s entrance while teachers and pupils fled. The force of the blast appeared to have splintered a tree trunk, damaged a car and left a small crater in the ground.

The mayor of Kilis province, Hasan Kara told NTV News that the “two or more mortars” were probably fired from over the Syrian border to the south, landing in the school’s courtyard and empty land nearby at around 9.30am local time (7.30am GMT).

Mr Kara said one of the injured people was in a critical condition in hospital and nearby schools had been closed as a precaution, the Daily Sabah newspaper reported.

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Michael Horowitz, a senior security analyst at the Levantine Group, said the incident could have been a response by Isis to Turkey’s shelling of its fighters, which started last week following the group’s terror attack in Istanbul.

“It could be that Isis is retaliating but it’s most likely a spill-over incident because there’s a lot of fighting close to the border,” Mr Horowitz told The Independent.

“Rebels are gaining ground and Isis has been put under a lot of pressure in that region… I did some calculations and Kilis is about 15km from the closest Isis position. 

“A rocket could definitely reach that and some mortars could do it.”

Isis is being attacked by three offensives in the Syrian region over the border from Kilis.

Opposition forces backed by Turkey have captured several villages, while the Syrian regime is fighting militants around Kewiris air base and closing in on the city of al-Bab with Russian support.

At the same time, the Syrian Democratic Forces – an alliance of Kurds, Arab, Assyrian and Turkmen militias – have captured the strategic Tishreen Dam and are battling towards the Isis stronghold of Manbij.

Turkish border towns and cities, including some used as a transit point by Isis militants travelling to the so-called Islamic State, have seen continued violence during the continuing civil war.

The Foreign Office advises against all travel within 10km of the border, warning of the threat of kidnapping, as well as attacks at border crossings like the suicide bombing that killed 33 people in Suruc in July.

Mortar rounds reportedly fired by Isis militants previously landed on the E90 road near the Turkish city of Nusayabin in September 2014.

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