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Turkey probes foiled attack, fingers PKK

Turkish police Wednesday investigated the potential target and masterminds of a foiled bomb attack in Ankara, as officials fingered PKK for planning a devastating blast.

Turkey probes foiled attack, fingers PKK
Turkish police Wednesday investigated the potential target and masterminds of a foiled bomb attack in Ankara, as officials fingered PKK for planning a devastating blast.

The Ankara governor's office said the explosives found on a minibus in a multi-storey car park in the city center Tuesday, were akin to those used by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in 2005 and 2006.

"Police are continuing their investigations and laboratory analyses," a statement said.

The PKK, which has been fighting since 1984 for self-rule in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, in a bloody campaign that has claimed more than 37,000 lives has, so far, not claimed responsibility.

Ankara governor Kemal Onal said that a "large quantity of explosives" were hidden in the minibus with fake number plates discovered by sniffer dogs in the car park in the densely-populated, commercial district of Kurtulus.

He did not specify the amount, but Turkish newspapers said Wednesday that the van contained up to 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds) of explosives.

The discovery of the bomb came amid tight security measures to preempt any blasts Tuesday, the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by Al Qaeda in the United States.

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 detonation by remote control.

"The meticulous work of the police averted a possible catastrophe," Onal said.

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.

Newspapers Wednesday said ammonium nitrate was used.

They said the attackers planned to set off the bomb through a mobile phone, a method commonly used by the PKK in the southeast where they are fighting the army, but never employed on such a large scale in any urban center.

Police have, so far, made no arrests.

The target of the attack is unclear, but the car park where the bomb was found is in a strategic zone only a few kilometers from the office of the prime minister, parliament, and several embassies.

The abortive bid is expected to be discussed by the Board for Struggle Against Terrorism, which is scheduled to hold its regular meeting, later Wednesday, under the Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek.


AFP
Last Mod: 13 Eylül 2007, 11:17
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