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Thursday, December 24, 1998 Published at 13:08 GMT

World: Europe

Two die in Turkish suicide bombing

Two people have been killed in an apparent suicide bomb attack in the eastern Turkish city of Van after a woman reportedly detonated a bomb she was carrying, killing herself and a young student passer-by.

[ image: Police examine the remains of the bus]
Police examine the remains of the bus
The authorities say 22 other people were injured when the bomb exploded near a military minibus.

Most of the injured were soldiers. According to the mayor of Van, none of them were in a critical condition.

He said the incident would have been much worse if the soldiers had got out of the vehicle before the blast happened.

Officials suspect PKK

[ image: PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan says he has distanced himself from PKK violence]
PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan says he has distanced himself from PKK violence
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but Turkish officials say they suspect it was carried out by the Kurdish separatist group, the PKK.

The rebel group has carried out two other suicide bombings in the region in the last few weeks.

The new wave of suicide attacks began after the PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, was detained in Italy on 12 November.

Since then, Mr Ocalan has been freed by an Italian court and he has sought to distance himself from some of the PKK's military activities.

Nevertheless, he still leads the movement and Turkey still holds him responsible for its actions.

The BBC's Ankara Correspondent, Chris Morris, says if PKK involvement in this attack is confirmed, the Turkish Government will see it as further proof that Mr Ocalan should not be trusted and he should not be allowed to gain any formal political status in Europe.

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