Suspected Kurd rebels blow up Iran-Turkey gas pipeline
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Last Updated: Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 18:47
Ankara: Suspected Kurdish rebels blew up a pipeline carrying natural gas from Iran to Turkey, forcing the shutdown of the conduit, officials said on Wednesday.

The powerful blast occurred overnight at a section of the pipeline near the eastern Turkish town of Dogubayazit, in Agri province, several kilometres (miles) from the Iranian border, a local official told agency by telephone, without giving other details.

"The explosion is believed to have been carried out by members of the separatist terrorist organisation," Agri Governor Ali Yerlikaya said in a statement, using official name for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Security forces are looking for the perpetrators, said the statement, carried by Anatolia news agency.

Television footage showed a large blaze raging over the pipeline after the blast, which, Anatolia said, shattered the windows of nearby buildings.

The PKK has dramatically stepped up its 26-year separatist campaign since its jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan said through his lawyers in May he was abandoning efforts to seek dialogue with Ankara.

The explosion cut the flow of Iranian gas, but an official at Turkey's state oil and gas company BOTAS ruled out a supply shortage, saying that gas coming via pipelines from Russia and Azerbaijan was meeting the needs.

"There is no problem at the moment," she told agency.

Repairs at the damaged section of the Iranian conduit were expected to take about a week, she said, adding that the fire had been extinguished as of this morning.


First Published: Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 18:47

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