A government official confirmed three F-16 jets took off from Diyarbakir airbase in south-east Turkey early on Friday and used smart bombs to hit three Isis targets across the Turkish border province of Kilis.
The bombing is a strong tactical shift for Turkey which had long been reluctant to join the US-led coalition against Isis.
The raids came as the Turkish prime minister’s office said 251 people had been detained in police raids targeting Isis and the Kurdish PKK group in 13 provinces. A statement said it was determined to fight all “terrorist” groups “without distinction”.
The official said the targets of the air strikes were two command centres and a gathering point of Isis supporters. The jets did not enter Syrian airspace, the official said.
Turkish media said the targets were the Syrian village of Havar, near the border, but officials would not confirm the location.
Hurriyet newspaper said the aerial operation was in retaliation for the Isis attack a day earlier and was named Operation Yalcin in honour of the non-commissioned officer who was killed in that attack.
Turkey earlier agreed to let the US-led coalition against Isis use the country’s Incirlik air base after Isis fired on its border post.
The country had previously refused to let the US-led coalition use the military facility but the attack on Turkish personnel appeared to prompt a change of heart.
Local media said Turkey scrambled its own F-16 fighter jets from their base in Diyarbakir to the Syrian border after the Kilis attack which appeared to signal the first armed confrontation between the country’s forces and Isis.
Turkish officials have raised concerns that the Isis bombing at Kilis was part of a campaign of retaliation for Turkey’s recent crackdown on IS operations in the country. In the last six months, Turkish officials say, more than 500 people suspected of working with IS have been detained.
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