Turkey says Syria set off deadly car bombs

May 12, 2013 at 9:53 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, May 12 (UPI) -- Turkey Sunday accused neighboring Syria of being behind the weekend car bombings that killed 46 people in the border town of Reyhanli.

The Turkish government said nine Turks arrested after the blasts had ties to Syrian intelligence and Ankara vowed to retaliate as tensions between the two nations heated up.

The Wall Street Journal said there were no immediate signs the Turkish military, which is part of NATO, was preparing any kind of strike against Syria, which could escalate the already bloody rebellion against the government of Bashar al-Assad. The New York Times said a foreign ministry official said the tensions had not reached point that warranted a full military response, but insisted there would be a response.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu alleged Damascus carried out the bombings in order to turn Turkish public opinion against the thousands of Syrian refugees who have crowded into border towns such as Reyhanli. Turkish media reported scattered incidents of violence against refugees by angry residents.

Turkey had earlier blamed Syria for a guerrilla raid on the Syrian town of Banias that left 62 people dead. "Whoever committed the Baniyas massacre organized these bombings," Davutoglu said.

The Journal said Syria swiftly denied the allegations.

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