Suspected missile strikes Northern Cyprus, according to local officials

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An unidentified object that may have been a missile crashed north of the Cypriot capital, Nicosia, early on Monday, but no one was hurt on the ground, Turkish Cypriot officials said.

Mustafa Akinci, the Turkish Cypriot leader, linked the object to military operations in the Middle East.

Officials were studying debris at the crash site in the Tashkent area, said Kudret Ozersay, foreign minister of Northern Cyprus, a breakaway state recognised only by Turkey.

"According to information I received from our military sources, the cause of the accident that occurred tonight was not ... a helicopter or one of our similar vehicles," Ozersay wrote on Twitter. "Our soldiers, police and firefighters are carrying out inspections and responding at the site."

He said it was not immediately clear what caused the crash.

Ozersay later wrote on social media that the writing on the "missile" resembled the writing on a Russian-made S-200 missile, saying that the information was not yet confirmed but that they would continue to update the public.

Ozersay said he had spoken with Turkish armed forces chief Yaşar Güler.

A Greek Cypriot military analyst, Andrea Pentaras, told Sigma TV in Cyprus that the debris suggested it was an S-200 missile.

Residents told Cypriot media they saw a light in the sky then three loud explosions were heard for miles around. Tashkent is on the foothills of a mountain range rimming northern Cyprus, lying some 20 km (12 miles) northeast of Nicosia.

Akinci said military authorities had been trying to ascertain whether the object was a military vehicle or missile.

"It is evident it is not something stemming from our soil ... It is one of the bad sides of the war in the region falling into our country," he said.

Cyprus is close to Syria. Israeli warplanes fired missiles targeting Syrian military positions in Homs and the Damascus outskirts overnight in an attack that killed at least four civilians and wounded another 21.

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