New evidence in Ankara, points to PKK

The ongoing investigation into the 600 kilograms of explosives found inside a multistory parking lot in the nation's capital last week is continuing, with the latest evidence pointing at the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

New evidence in Ankara, points to PKK

The ongoing investigation into the 600 kilograms of explosives found inside a multistory parking lot in the nation's capital last week is continuing, with the latest evidence pointing at the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The explosive material, found loaded in a van parked on the second floor of a car park in Ankara, was defused after a three-hour effort by police forces. The van was then taken to a forensic laboratory in Gölbaşı.

The vehicle contained two SIM cards inside cellular phones which would have served as remote-control devices to detonate the bomb, a modus operandi frequently used by the PKK and a hint at its involvement. Had the bomb not been located by the police Ankara might have witnessed its own tragedy on Sept. 11 -- the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York.

One of the SIM cards was registered under the name of a person linked to the PKK residing in the Beytüşşebap district of the southeastern city of Şırnak. The types of explosives found inside the vehicle in the parking lot in Ankara match those seized in an operation against the PKK made on May 5 last year, turning the police's attention towards Şırnak. The case prosecutor has demanded that the Şırnak Gendarmerie Unit detain the owner of the SIM card.

Pay-as-you-go SIM cards used

The two cell phones used in the foiled attack devised were both NOKIA 3310 models. Both SIM cards are pay-as-you-go cards, one of them being a Vodafone SIM card. "One SIM card had been bought about two years ago, while the other one has been given a newer number," a source with the police force said.

Police discovered that a significant number of conversations took place between the Şırnak residents who owned one of the SIM cards and Fehman Hüseyin, an aide to Murat Karayılan, one of the leaders of the PKK, which is based in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq. "The owner of the SIM card will be key in unlocking more information," the investigators say.

The Ankara Governor's Office said the explosives found in a van in a multistory parking lot in the city centre on Tuesday were similar to those used by the PKK in 2005 and 2006. "Police are continuing their investigations and laboratory analyses," a statement said.

Ankara Governor Kemal Önal said that a "large quantity of explosives" had been hidden in the van, which had fake license plates, in the densely populated, commercial district of Kurtuluş. Bomb squads took three hours to defuse the explosives as police evacuated nearby buildings and officials cut off natural gas supplies and blocked mobile phone services in the area to prevent a detonation by remote control. "The meticulous work of the police averted a possible catastrophe," Önal noted.

The governor's statement said that the bomb comprised 24 gas canisters and dozens of bags and containers of chemicals in both powder and liquid forms. The discovery of the bomb came amid tight security measures to pre-empt any danger on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Turkey has witnessed several attacks in recent years. The worst in the country's history occurred in 2003, when suicide bombers from a homegrown al-Qaeda cell rammed explosive-packed vehicles into two synagogues on Nov. 15. Five days later they targeted the British Consulate in İstanbul and a bank, killing a total of 63 people and wounding 600.

In May of this year 10 people were killed by an apparent suicide bombing in Ankara's busy commercial district of Ulus.

Today's Zaman

Last Mod: 17 Eylül 2007, 12:15
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