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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 April 2006, 20:34 GMT 21:34 UK
Istanbul blast leaves 31 injured
Police forensic officers examine the blast site
The blast was near a shop in an Istanbul suburb
An explosion has injured 31 people in a residential suburb of Istanbul, Turkish police have said.

Two people were seriously hurt and are receiving treatment at a hospital, but most of the injuries were minor.

Turkish media say police suspect the blast in the Bakirkoy district on the city's European side was caused by a bomb left in a rubbish bin near a shop.

Several bombs have been planted in Istanbul recently, thought to be linked to unrest in the Kurdish south-east.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest explosion, which occurred on a busy street.

Television footage from the site showed shattered glass scattered along a pavement.

Kurdish riots

Initial reports had blamed the explosion on a gas leak.

Shop window shattered by the blast
Police suspect a bomb was placed in a rubbish bin

"It is not an explosion caused by a gas leak, a bomb went off," Istanbul police chief Celalettin Cerrah told reporters, according to the Anatolia news agency, without giving further details.

Kurdish militants have left bombs in Istanbul and threatened more attacks after recent violence in the mainly Kurdish south-east of the country.

A separatist group, the Kurdish Freedom Falcons (TAK), has said it carried out some of the explosions.

It has links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which began an armed struggle in south-eastern Turkey in the mid-1980s.

Tensions between the Ankara government and the PKK have risen since 2004, when the group called off a five-year ceasefire.




SEE ALSO:
Kurd unrest escalates in Turkey
30 Mar 06 |  Europe


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