Monday, March 11, 2013
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's interior minister blamed Syria's intelligence agencies and its army for involvement in a car bombing at a border crossing last month that killed 14 people, after he announced Monday that police detained five suspects.
Four Syrians and a Turk are in custody in connection with the Feb. 11 attack at the Bab al-Hawa frontier post. No one has claimed responsibility, but a Syrian opposition faction accused the Syrian government of the bombing, saying it narrowly missed 13 leaders of the group.
Interior Minister Muammer Guler told reporters two of the detained, including a woman, are suspected of having carried out the attack, while a third is believed to have organized the bombing. The other suspects are thought to have "aided and abetted" the bombers. One other suspect is still at large, Guler said.
Guler said the suspects were linked to Syria's intelligence agencies and its army.
"We have determined that they were in contact with the Syrian intelligence and army," Guler said. "But of course, this will come to light during the trial."
The detained were to be questioned by a court to face formal arrest and charges. Guler said three other people were also quizzed by police but released after questioning.
Guler said two of the suspects had escaped to Syria and were "brought" to Turkey. He did not say if Syrian rebels, backed by Turkey, were involved in their return.
The frontier area has seen heavy fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces during the nearly two-year-old civil war.