Car bombs kill four in Turkish town on Syrian border

ISTANBUL Sat May 11, 2013 8:26am EDT

People gather at the site of an explosion in the town of Reyhanli near the Turkish-Syrian border May 11, 2013. REUTERS/Adem Karagoz/Ihlas News Agency via Reuters

People gather at the site of an explosion in the town of Reyhanli near the Turkish-Syrian border May 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Adem Karagoz/Ihlas News Agency via Reuters

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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Twin car bombs killed at least four people and wounded 18 in the southern Turkish town of Reyhanli near the border with Syria on Saturday, Turkey's interior minister said, heightening fears that Syria's civil war is spreading to its neighbors.

Television footage showed shattered windows and smoke rising after the explosions. The Dogan news agency said there had been four blasts, but an official in Reyhanli told Reuters he had heard two explosions.

"Two cars exploded in front of the municipality building and the post office in Reyhanli," Interior Minister Muammer Guler told reporters in comments broadcast on Turkish television.

"According to the initial information we received, four people were killed and 18 people were wounded. Of course we're worried that the numbers could rise."

Turkey is a staunch supporter of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, now in its third year, and has harbored both Syrian refugees and rebels. Violence has sometimes spilled over the border.

In February, a minibus blew up at a border crossing near Reyhanli, opposite the rebel-held Syrian border gate of Bab al-Hawa, killing 14 people and wounding dozens more.

The Syrian opposition said one of its delegations appeared to have been the target of that attack, but there has been no confirmation of this from the Turkish authorities.

In October, five Turkish civilians were killed in Akcakale when a mortar bomb fired from Syria landed on their house, prompting Turkey to fire back across the frontier.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Saturday's bomb attack, but Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned against "testing Turkey's power", and said necessary measures would be taken.

Turkey is sheltering more than 300,000 Syrians, most of them in camps along the 900-km (560-mile) frontier, and is struggling to keep up with the influx.

(Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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