The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) launched an attack Saturday on the Syrian border town of Kobane from Turkey, a Kurdish official and activists said, though Turkey denied that the fighters had used its territory for the raid.
The assault began when a suicide bomber driving an armored vehicle detonated his explosives on the border crossing between Kobane and Turkey, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Nawaf Khalil, a spokesman for Syria's Kurdish Democratic Union Party.
At least 30 fighters have been confirmed as killed so far, said Rami Abdulrahman, the Observatory's director. Twenty-one of those were ISIL fighters, including the four suicide bombers. The rest were Kurdish forces.
Kurdish militia have been holding off ISIL fighters for more than two months in Kobane. Neither side has been able to gain a decisive advantage despite U.S.-led air strikes aimed at pushing back the insurgents.
Turkey, while previously backing the Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad in that country's civil war, has been hesitant to aid them in Kobane because it fears that could stoke Kurdish ambitions for an independent state.
A Turkish government statement on Saturday confirmed that one of the suicide attacks involved a bomb-loaded vehicle that detonated on the Syrian side of the border. But it denied that the vehicle had crossed into Kobane through Turkey, which would be a first for the armed group.
"Claims that the vehicle reached the border gate by crossing through Turkish soil are a lie," read the statement released from the government press office at the border town of Suruc. "Contrary to certain claims, no Turkish official has made any statement claiming that the bomb-loaded vehicle had crossed in from Turkey."
"The security forces who are on alert in the border region have ... taken all necessary measures," the statement continued.
Mustafa Bali, a Kurdish Kobane-based activist, said by telephone that ISIL fighters have taken positions in the grain silos on the Turkish side of the border and from there are launching attacks toward the border crossing point. He added that the U.S.-led coalition launched an airstrike Saturday morning on the eastern side of the town.
"It is now clear that Turkey is openly cooperating with Daesh," Bali said, using the Arabic acronym for the ISIL.