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Last Updated: Friday, 2 July, 2004, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
Three killed in Turkey bomb blast
Three people have been killed and more than 20 injured in a bomb attack on a governor's convoy in eastern Turkey.

The governor, Hikmet Tan, who escaped unhurt, told NTV television a car bomb had exploded in the eastern province of Van as his official convoy passed by.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

But a police spokesman told reporters suspicion had fallen on a Kurdish rebel group, which announced last month it was ending a unilateral truce.

"Our impression is that the attack was carried out by the PKK," Ramazan Er told a news conference. The PKK (Kurdistan's People's Party) is now known as Kongra-Gel.

The BBC's Steve Bryant in Istanbul says fighting between the rebels, the army and security forces has risen dramatically, despite appeals from Kurdish politicians for peace.

Bystanders killed

Reports say the bomb in a parked car went off as the governor was being driven to work in the city of Van.

The governor, his driver and his bodyguards survived the blast without injury, but the explosion is said to have killed bystanders or those in cars following the convoy.

Governor Tan had said five people died, but later revised the number killed to three.

Police defused a second explosive device in the city centre, which was seriously damaged by the blast.

Television footage showed shattered windows in a nearby building and flooding from a burst water pipe.

The Kurdish paramilitary group Kongra-Gel declared an end to its five-year unilateral ceasefire in June.

It said that the ceasefire had become meaningless following what it called annihilation operations carried out against its fighters over the past few months.

For 15 years before the ceasefire the PKK had fought the Turkish state in a conflict which claimed more than 30,000 lives.

Our correspondent says the violence also comes as Turkey, which seeks European Union membership, has passed a range of reforms that allow Kurdish language education and broadcasting.

Many of the Kurdish rebels are based in neighbouring Iraq, and Turkey is seeking US help to eliminate them, he adds.




SEE ALSO:
Kurds move to end Turkish truce
29 May 04  |  Europe
Turkish TV allows Kurds airtime
09 Jun 04  |  Europe
Country profile: Turkey
13 Jun 04  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Turkey
13 Jun 04  |  Country profiles



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