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Isis militants attack Turkish military outpost killing soldier

Published 23/07/2015

File photo: A Turkish soldier in an armoured personnel carrier near the border with Syria (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
File photo: A Turkish soldier in an armoured personnel carrier near the border with Syria (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Isis militants fired at a Turkish military outpost from Syrian territory today, killing one Turkish soldier and injuring two others.

Suleyman Tapsiz, the governor for Kilis province, said the border outpost was attacked from a region in Syria under IS control. Turkish troops retaliated, killing at least one IS militant.

The soldiers were attacked by five militants, the Turkish military said in a statement, adding that one IS militant was "captured dead" along with a rocket launcher and an AK-47 rifle.

The attack came amid a surge of violence in Turkey following a suicide bombing on Monday near Turkey's border with Syria that killed 32 people and wounded scores. The attack has been blamed on militants linked to the Islamic State group and came amid a clampdown by Turkey on the extremist group.

Turkish officials say they have detained more than 500 people suspected of working with IS in the last six months.

Turkey had reinforced its border at Kilis a day earlier, deploying elite special forces units there, a government official said.

Earlier today, unknown assailants ambushed traffic police in the country's mainly Kurdish south-east, killing one officer and seriously injuring a second.

Police chief Halis Bogurcu said the officers were gunned down after they were called to a street in Diyarbakir, the region's largest city, by people who reported a hoax traffic accident. There was no immediate claim of responsibility and an operation was launched to catch the assailants.

Kurdish militants yesterday claimed responsibility for killing two other policemen in retaliation for Monday's suicide bombing, which killed many Kurds. Members of the minority group say the Turkish government did not do enough to prevent the attack.

Later, senior Obama administration officials said Turkey had agreed to let the US military use a key air base near the border with Syria to launch air strikes against IS.

The agreement, which President Barack Obama and Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed in a phone call, follows months of US appeals to Turkey and delicate negotiations over the use of Incirlik and other bases by the US-led coalition - a sensitive topic in Turkey.

American officials said access to the base in southern Turkey would allow the US to move more swiftly and nimbly to attack IS targets.

Turkey has yet to publicly confirm the agreement and the US officials requested anonymity because they were not authorised to comment publicly.

The White House declined to confirm the agreement, citing operational security concerns but spokesman Josh Earnest said Mr Obama and Mr Erdogan had discussed efforts to fight IS during their phone call on Wednesday.

"The two leaders did agree that we would deepen our co-operation as we take on this Isil threat," Mr Earnest said, using an alternative acronym for the militant group.

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