Tue, Aug 29, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Explosions in Turkey injure 27

HOLIDAYMAKERS TARGETED Three blasts went off in the resort town of Marmaris around midnight, when many cafes and bars were still packed with customers

AFP AND AP , ISTANBUL AND ANKARA

Turkish minibus driver Ali Sariduz, right, is comforted by an unidentified man after a blast damaged his vehicle in Marmaris, Turkey, early yesterday. The explosion injured 10 British tourists and 11 Turks. There were two other blasts at the same time in garbage cans on the main boulevard in the resort town. No injuries were reported from those explosions.

PHOTO: AP

Four blasts in Turkey, including one which blew apart a bus in a popular seaside resort, have injured 27 people, among them 10 Britons, Turkish and British officials said yesterday.

Three of the explosions struck the Mediterranean resort of Marmaris around midnight, as many late-night revellers were out on the streets, which are lined with bars, restaurants and cafes.

Six more people were injured when a package bomb exploded in Turkey's biggest city Istanbul late on Sunday, the city's police chief Cemalettin Cerrah said.

Local Governor Temel Kocaklar said 21 people, including the 10 British nationals, were hurt in the three explosions in Marmaris, which he implied were bombings.

Turkish media reports said the first blast ripped through a shuttle bus ferrying tourists along one of the resort's main streets, and was caused by a bomb placed under one of the seats.

It was followed shortly by two other blasts in garbage cans which were reported to have caused no injuries, though some reports suggested those had not detonated properly.

Ten Britons and 11 Turks were reported injured in the bus explosion. Six of Britons were taken to the Ahu Hetman hospital in Marmaris, the other four to the Caria hospital.

A spokeswoman for the British embassy in Ankara said in London that four of the injured Britons were in serious condition.

Among the 10 were a 38-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman, a 13-year-old girl and a 73-year-old woman, according to the Press Association, citing a spokeswoman at the Caria Hospital.

All had suffered burns and shrapnel injuries to their legs and "lower extremities," she said.

Other reports said a seven-year old boy was among the injured.

"We will catch the perpetrators of these explosions in the shortest time possible and bring them before the public," Kocalar told the Anatolia news agency.

"It was the usual holidaymakers walking about, everybody was out enjoying themselves," Danielle Pearson told Sky News TV in a telephone interview from Marmaris.

"The bus was basically blown apart, she said.

Security was immediately intensified in the town, with additional forces being called in to check vehicles entering and leaving the area, Anatolia said.

In London, the Foreign Office said a rapid deployment team was being sent to assist the victims. The team would be led by the British ambassador, Sir Peter Westmacott.

In its advice to travelers, the Foreign Office warns of "a high threat from terrorism in Turkey."

"We believe that international terrorist groups, as well as indigenous ones, are currently active in Turkey. Further attacks, including in tourist areas, could well occur," the Foreign Office said.

Yesterday morning, Frank Cook, Labour chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on Turkey, suggested that Turkish and British foreign policy might have inspired terrorists.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today program: "Britain has allied itself very, very closely with the US, as most other nations have, though to varying degrees."

"With a terrorist mentality, individuals can stretch their logic to uncanny degrees of elasticity," he said.

However, outlawed Kurdish rebels, extreme leftists and Islamic militants have all carried out bomb attacks in Turkey in the past, including against tourist resorts.

A radical Kurdish group, calling itself the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, has claimed responsibility for 12 bomb attacks in urban centers across the country this year, in which six people were killed and more than 100 others injured.

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