Bomb attack on police bus wounds 16 in Istanbul

Last Updated: Thursday, March 1, 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.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 20:47

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