Izmir explosion: Two 'terrorists' shot dead after car bomb and gunfire outside courthouse in Turkey

Latest violence comes amid wave of terror attacks by Isis and Kurdish extremist groups

Lizzie Dearden@lizziedearden
Thursday 05 January 2017 14:25
Explosion reported outside courthouse in Izmir

A car bombing has killed at least two people outside a courthouse in the Turkish city of Izmir. It was followed by a gun battle between police and two suspected terrorists.

A police officer and member of courthouse staff died as a result of the suspected terror attack, regional governor Erol Ayyildiz told reporters.

He added that security forces identified the vehicle as a threat as it approached a checkpoint, causing the attackers to detonate their explosives and open fire.

At least 10 people were injured by the blast and ensuing gun battle, with a large number of judges and lawyers standing around the entrance to the courthouse at the time.

Gunfire broke out between police and the men suspected to have orchestrated the attack at around 4pm local time (1pm GMT), CNN Turk reported.

Two suspects were shot dead at the scene, while a third attacker is thought to remain on the run.

Photos taken from surrounding buildings appeared to show a vehicle on fire in the courthouse car park.

Ambulances and emergency services rushed to the scene and people were moved to safety amid fears of a second bomb.

Mr Ayyildiz said preliminary evidence indicated that the militant Kurdish separatist group known as the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) were behind the attack. Police seized weapons, including a rocket launcher and eight hand grenades, and probably prevented a more serious incident by stopping the assailants from reaching the courthouse itself, he added.

It follows a wave of attacks targeting civilians across Turkey carried out by Isis and Kurdish extremist groups in the last 18 months.

Isis claimed responsibility for the previous incident, when a gunman massacred 39 people at a nightclub in Istanbul in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Izmir, the third-largest city in Turkey, has been the focus of police and special forces’ attention since 1 January, as it is believed the Istanbul suspect stayed there prior to carrying out the attack.

About 20 arrests have been made in the city in the last few days as police believe the gunman may have had assistance in planning the deadly rampage.

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