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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 March, 2004, 09:48 GMT
Istanbul bomb attack kills one
The wounded were taken to hospital
The Masons are seen as pro-US and pro-Israel
A bomb attack on a Masonic lodge in the Turkish city of Istanbul has left one person dead and six injured.

Provincial governor Muanmer Guler said one of the bombers also died in the attack, and the other was wounded.

They started shooting before detonating their explosives at the entrance to the building, where 40 people were dining.

No group has admitted carrying out the attack. In November, more than 60 people died in Istanbul in a series of explosions blamed on Muslim militants.

Those blasts, carried out by suicide attackers, targeted Jewish synagogues and British commercial and diplomatic buildings in Istanbul's European section.

Target

Tuesday's blast took place in the largely residential Asian area of the city.

Everyone was panicking, everyone was asking where their friends were
Eyewitness
The BBC's Jonny Dymond in Istanbul says security is more lax in the area.

The secretive international society of Masons is seen by radical Islamic groups as a supporter of the policies of Israel and the United States.

Mr Guler told the Associated Press news agency the number of casualties could have been higher, had the attackers managed to get past the entrance of the restaurant on the ground floor of the lodge.

Militant groups

Eyewitnesses said that one of the attackers chanted an Islamic slogan before he detonated the bomb, killing himself and a waiter.

"Everyone was panicking, everyone was asking where their friends were," one man told AP.

The second alleged assailant was taken to hospital with abdominal injuries and possibly a severed arm.

November's attacks in Istanbul led to the arrest of several people accused of belonging to an Islamist militant group with ties to al-Qaeda.

Kurdish separatist militants and shadowy left-wing guerrillas are also suspected of being active in Istanbul.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Jonny Dymond
"If people are to feel safe visiting the city the authorities will need...some answers"



SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Turkey
02 Mar 04  |  Country profiles


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