( dpa ) - A police officer and two suspected supporters of the al-Qaeda terrorist network were killed Thursday morning in a shootout in the south-eastern Turkish city of Gaziantep, the Anadolu news agency reported.
The shootout started when police raided an apartment in the suburb of Karsiyaka that Turkish media reported was being used by al-Qaeda supporters. Gaziantep Governor Suleyman Kamci refused to be drawn on whether the group was indeed al-Qaeda.
In addition to the deaths four police officers were wounded in the shootout.
Co-ordinated raids on a number of apartments around the city resulted in 18 people being arrested. Anadolu reported that police seized large amounts of weapons and documents that linked the suspects to al-Qaeda.
In 2003 a Turkish al-Qaeda cell was responsible for four suicide bomb attacks in Istanbul that targeted two synagogues, the British consulate and the Istanbul headquarters of HSBC bank. The attacks left more than 60 people dead.