On Monday, an explosives-laden vehicle which entered the Cilvegözü Border Gate, located opposite the Syrian gate of Bab al-Hawa in Hatay's Reyhanlı district, exploded killing 14 people at the border crossing point regularly used by Syrian refugees entering Turkey for shelter.
Responding to journalists' questions, Interior Minister Muammer Güler clarified that the explosion did not take place in a minivan, as originally suspected. The vehicle was a gray car, said Güler, which arrived from Syria at 14:14 on Monday and parked in a buffer zone 21-meters distance from the border. The explosion took place 23 minutes later.
Güler said they saw three suspects exit the vehicle. "We are now looking into identifying these three perpetrators. One was a woman, and two of them returned to Syria, while one entered Turkey. We are working on trying to identify the assailant who entered Turkey," stated Güler. When asked if he thought the attack was directed at the Syrian opposition or whether it was planned as a terrorist attack, the Interior Minister responded by stating, "Of course it was a terrorist attack."
BOMBERS ON CAMERA
According to information received by security forces, one of the individuals seen parking the car was wearing a red jacket and ended up entering Turkey. Police are intensifying efforts into identifying the three assailants, which were caught on video surveillance.
Authorities are looking into the possibility the individual may be connected with one of the terrorist organizations active in Turkey and are therefore comparing his description to those in intelligence files. Police will also be showing the suspects' photograph to Syrian refugees staying in camps in Turkey, under the off-chance they are Syrian nationals. Meanwhile, authorities have learned that 35-50 kilograms of explosives were used in the blast.
VEHICLE NOT REGISTERED IN TURKEY
Security teams are also looking into the make and model of the vehicle and whether or not it is registered in Turkey. Police officers were able to piece together the vehicle's registration number from the remnants of the vehicle after the blast. The investigation proved that the vehicle was not registered in Turkey. Upon initial inspection it is thought the car may be Iranian or Russian-made. Officials say the engine components were the only part of the vehicle that remained intact after the blast. The engine and the remaining parts of the vehicle have been collected and sent to the Adana District Criminal Laboratory for further inspection including possible fingerprint traces.
Monday's bombing at the Turkish Cilvegözü Border Gate with Syria, has left 14 dead, four of which were Turkish nationals and wounded dozens. The four Turkish victims, Hasan Dağ (17), Ahmet Taş (35), İbrahim Yalçınkaya (15) and Ali Sille (29) were buried in ceremonies in their hometowns on Tuesday.
This is a translation of an article originally written by Zübeyde Yalçın and Alper Sancar.
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