Turkish Jets Bomb Islamic State Targets In Syria

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Turkish air force jets have attacked Islamic State targets across the border in Syria as hundreds of suspected “terrorists” were rounded up across the country.

Three F-16 jets were involved in the early morning strike which used laser-guided bombs launched from inside Turkish territory.

The attack is the first time Turkish planes have attacked the group.

Two IS headquarters and an “assembly point” were targeted but Syrian airspace was not violated, said a government official.

Tensions have increased over the past few days after IS militants fired at a Turkish border position in Kilis province on Thursday, killing a soldier and wounding two others.

Turkish tanks returned fire, reportedly killing one militant.

“The state of the Republic of Turkey is decisive in taking any precaution to safeguard its national security,” said an statement confirming the air strikes.

A massive police operation also took place overnight across Turkey, with hundreds detained in simultaneous raids in 13 provinces.

In Istanbul 5,000 officers backed by helicopters targeted IS suspects and militants from the outlawed PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party).

Members of the Marxist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party Front were also reportedly detained.

“A total of 251 people were taken into detention (across Turkey) for belonging to terrorist groups,” said a government statement.

Turkey’s leaders are under pressure at home to take more action against IS following the deaths of 32 people in a suicide bombing in the southeastern city of Suruc.

The attack ramped up tensions in the Kurdish-dominated region, with some people accusing authorities there of collaborating with IS.

The murder of two police officers near the Syrian border on Wednesday was claimed by PKK militants, who said the killings were to “avenge” the Suruc bombing.

In other violence, a policeman was killed in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir on Thursday, while the PKK’s youth wing claimed it had killed a former IS fighter in Istanbul on Tuesday.

Turkey’s government said in a statement that it is determined to take on all “terrorist” groups “without distinction”.

It also agreed this week to let the US military use the Incirlik air base near the Syrian border to launch its own attacks on IS, following months of negotiations.

American planes using the base will be able to fly into IS territory far quicker than before.

The deal is said to have come after a phone call between Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – but has not yet been officially announced.

The White House would only say the two leaders had agreed to “deepen” their cooperation.

Turkey has been the entry point into Syria for hundreds of foreigners travelling to fight with Islamic State but has so far not taken part in the US-led campaign of air strikes.

Sky News – Culled from: http://news.sky.com/story/1524481/turkish-jets-bomb-islamic-state-targets-in-syria

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