( Reuters ) - One police officer and one militant were killed in a clash during raids on suspected al Qaeda cells in southeastern Turkey, police sources said on Thursday.
Four police officers were also wounded in the raids that targeted houses belonging to the radical Islamist group in the city of Gaziantep at around 2 a.m. (0000 GMT), the sources said.
They said the clash erupted after police calls for the militants to surrender were met by gunfire.
State-run Anatolian news agency said two people linked to the group were killed while 18 people were detained during the raids.
It said there was a large explosion in the city as the operation continued. No details were immediately available on the blast.
Security cordons had been set up around the targeted areas, where armored vehicles and ambulances were stationed.
Police found a large number of weapons and documents, linking the suspects to the Islamic radical group, according to the Web site of broadcaster CNN Turk.
Turkish police have carried out a series of operations across the country against people suspected of links to al Qaeda in recent months.
In 2003 the group claimed responsibility for suicide bomb attacks against the British consulate, two synagogues and an HSBC bank in Istanbul, which killed more than 60 people.