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Sunday, March 14, 1999 Published at 22:04 GMT


World: Europe

Istanbul hit by another bomb

People gathered to witness the scene of Saturday's devastation

Two people have been injured in Turkey after another bomb blast in the city of Istanbul.

It comes a day after 13 people were killed in a petrol bomb attack on a crowded shopping centre.

The bomb on Sunday exploded underneath a truck. One of the casualties was reported to be in a critical condition.

The bomb went off at 1950 local time (1750 GMT) in the Bahcelievler district of the city.


[ image: Relatives mourned Saturday's dead]
Relatives mourned Saturday's dead
The Turkish news agency, Anatolia, reported that the person who sustained major injuries was suspected of having tried to place the bomb under the lorry. The other injured person, a soldier, was reported to be in good condition.

Bomb disposal experts safely defused another bomb left in a fast-food restaurant in the city's Avcilar area.

Police were called in when staff at Burger King discovered the bomb and evacuated diners, Anatolia said.

Security authorities have launched an investigation into the planting of the homemade bomb, it added.

Istanbul has recently been the target of a series of attacks since the capture last month of Kurdish separatist leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

Security tightened

The most serious incident was Saturday's petrol bomb, which led to police stepping up security in Instanbul.

The Ocalan File
No-one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the Turkish media have accused the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), saying the group was taking revenge for the arrest of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

Security across the country, which was already tight after Mr Ocalan's arrest, has been increased further.

But our Turkey Correspondent, Chris Morris, says Istanbul itself is a chaotic place in which a small group of fanatics, determined to spread terror, can still operate effectively.


Chris Morris reports: "Istanbul is a sprawling, chaotic place"
Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit promised that the bombers would be caught quickly.

"They are trying to cause panic during an election period," he said.

PKK accused

Turkish newspapers linked the attack to the PKK and the arrest of Mr Ocalan.

"The PKK painted Istanbul with blood," the Hurriyet newspaper said.

The leftist daily Radikal drew comparisons with previous attacks attributed to the rebels. "Massacre PKK-style," it said.

But a previously unknown group, calling itself the National Kurdish Revenge Team, claimed responsibility for an explosion earlier in the week.

It criticised the PKK for using only limited violence.

Suspicion is also focused on extreme left wing groups who have carried out a series of attacks in Istanbul in the past.

There have been reports that leftist and Kurdish militants have now decided to work together to intensify their violent campaign against the Turkish state.



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