Twin Bomb Attack Kills 16, Injures 154 In Istanbul


28.07.2008 12:25 GMT+04:00

Two bombs exploded in a crowded Istanbul street killing at least 16
people and wounding more than 150 just hours ahead of a key court
hearing which could see the country’s ruling party outlawed.

Media reports said the attack late Sunday bore all the hallmarks of
Kurdish rebels. Authorities did not say who the attackers were but
the prime minister condemned the terrorist "savagery".

Health Minister Recep Akdag put the death toll at 16 after one of the
wounded died in hospital overnight. The toll could rise as seven people
remain in serious condition, Akdag said, adding that the fatalities
included children.

The attack raised tensions in the country ahead of the start Monday
of a crucial meeting of the Constitutional Court on whether to ban
the ruling party for undermining Turkey’s secular system.

Both bombs were planted in rubbish containers on a crowded street
lined with shops and cafes, in the Gungoren neighborhood on Istanbul’s
European side, officials said. The first relatively small bomb around
10:00pm (1900 GMT) Sunday hit passers-by and residents. A second
powerful explosion about 10 minutes later, some 50 meters away,
accounted for most of the dead and wounded, officials said.

Television footage showed scenes of panic, people covered in blood
running from the area, littered with debris and shattered glass.

Istanbul Governor Muammer Guler said it was too early to say who
carried out the blast. He said police were examining the explosive
used in the attack and images from a security camera located near
the site of the first blast.

"There is no doubt that this was a terrorist attack," he said at
the scene.

Newspapers pointed an accusing finger at the outlawed Kurdistan
Workers’ Party (PKK), which has carried out bomb attacks in the past
as part of its 24-year separatist campaign.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack as an act
of terrorism and pledged that the perpetrators would be caught and

The police arrested 3 teenager suspects, the AFP reports.