Bomb attack on police bus wounds 16 in Istanbul
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Last Updated: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 20:47
Istanbul: A roadside bomb in central Istanbul wounded 16 people, almost all of them police officers, on Thursday, in an attack near Turkey's ruling party headquarters, officials said.

The remote-controlled explosive was fitted to a stationary motorcycle and went off in the morning as a police bus carrying 21 officers passed by, authorities said.

The blast hit close to the offices of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who condemned the attack as an "act of terror".

"The villains that carried out this attack will never reach their ambitions," he said in televised remarks, without naming any suspects.

Several outlawed armed groups -- Kurdish, Islamist and Leftist extremist -- have carried out bomb attacks in Istanbul in the past.

Erdogan said 15 of those wounded were police officers.

Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin said the blast came from a "remote-controlled bomb that went off as a duty vehicle with 21 policemen on board drove by," the Anatolia news agency reported.

The device was made of plastic explosives, Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu was quoted as saying by the agency.

"The bomb was planted on a motorcycle waiting by the roadside, and went off around 0700 GMT (1230 IST) as the police vehicle passed," Mutlu said.

Witnesses in nearby vehicles spoke of a strong blast that shook their cars and spread panic among morning commuters.

The wounded were admitted to hospital but none of their injuries were critical, Capkin added.

Police blocked access to the blast zone, fearing a second explosion.

Last September a powerful bomb rocked the centre of the capital Ankara, killing three people and wounding at least 15.

And a bomb blast in May last year injured eight people near a bus stop in Etiler, an upscale district in Istanbul.


First Published: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 20:47

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