At least eight police officers have been killed and 70 wounded in a truck bomb attack at a police headquarters in southeastern Turkey, according to a Turkish minister.
The bomb was exploded at a checkpoint outside the headquarters on Friday, after the attackers failed to pass the guards there, state media said. The blast was followed by an armed battle between the police and attackers.
Ambulances, including helicopters, have been sent to the scene, Turkish television channels said.
How is Turkey dealing with threat from Syria?
Recep Akdag, Turkey’s health minister, said that at least eight officers were killed in the incident and four of the 70 wounded people were in critical condition.
The ministry said earlier that a dozen ambulances and two helicopters had been sent to the scene.
Predominantly-Kurdish Cizre is in Turkey’s Sirnak province and it borders both Syria and Iraq.
Large plumes of smoke billowed from the attack site, footage on Turkish televisions showed. They also displayed a large three-storey building reduced to its concrete shell, with no walls or windows, and surrounded by grey rubble.
State media blamed the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels for the attack.
On Thursday, Interior Minister Efkan Ala accused the same group of attacking a convoy carrying the country’s main opposition party leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu. One security official was killed in the incident.
The PKK, an armed group seen as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU, has recently stepped up its attacks in southeastern Turkey.
The latest attack in Cizre comes two days after Turkish forces launched an unprecedented ground and air offensive into neighbouring Syria, which, according to Turkish officials, targeted the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Syrian Kurdish fighters.
Ankara sees Syria’s Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters as an extension of the PKK.
Southeastern Turkey is going through the most intense fighting in decades after a ceasefire between the Turkish state and the PKK collapsed in July last year.
The military has repeatedly ordered military operations and curfews in southeastern urban centres, including Cizre, since then.
More than 40,000 people, have died since the PKK rebels took up arms in Turkey in 1984.[Source: Al Jazeera News and agencies]