Da The Guardian del 29/08/2006
Originale su http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1860193,00.html

Tourists warned to stay away as bomb attacks rock Turkey

· Three die and 50 injured in latest resort explosion
· 10 Britons hurt as Kurdish group says it was to blame

di Nick Birch, Steven Morris

A separatist group yesterday warned tourists to stay away from Turkey after a wave of bomb blasts killed three people and injured dozens, including 10 Britons. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons claimed responsibility for four of the five bombs and warned on its website: "Turkey is not a safe country; tourists should not come to Turkey."

Three people were killed and as many as 50 injured in the most serious of the blasts, which wreaked havoc in the southern city of Antalya yesterday afternoon.

Earlier in the day 10 Britons, including four children, were hurt when a bomb exploded on a bus in the popular south-western coastal resort of Marmaris, and on Sunday evening there was an explosion in Istanbul.

In the major port city of Izmir, police yesterday detained a suspected member of the Kurdish separatist guerrilla group PKK they claimed was planning an attack there, and seized plastic explosives, the state news agency Anatolian reported.

The bombings are a blow to the Turkish tourist industry, which is worth £10bn a year. Almost 2 million Britons visit the country annually and there are currently thousands in the area around Marmaris. Beaches in the resort were quieter than usual yesterday as many people decided to stay in their hotels, and some began making plans to abort their holiday.

The series of blasts began on Sunday evening when a bomb exploded near a government building in an Istanbul suburb. Six people were hurt, one of them critically. Shortly after midnight yesterday there were three explosions in Marmaris. The most serious was on one of the many minibuses which ferry visitors around the resort and surrounding areas.

Ten Britons who were on board were injured. The 10, aged between seven and 73, were treated for burns and shrapnel-like wounds. Four were seriously hurt.

Among them were Sarah Wilson and her two sons, Jamie, eight and Adam, seven. Ms Wilson told the Guardian: "All of a sudden there was a flash and a hot wind against the back of my legs and a pain. There was lots of noise, lots of screams, lots of shouting." Her son Adam suffered burns to his hand and cheek and shrapnel wounds

A 13-year-old British girl, Jennifer Smith, needed an operation and 11 local people were also hurt.

The most destructive blast happened yesterday afternoon in the southern city of Antalya, another tourist centre more popular with visitors from Russia and continental Europe. Two people were killed and many injured in the explosion which happened in or near a building housing restaurants and cafes.

One witness reported hearing a loud blast which shattered windows and caused a fire. "A parked motorbike exploded and pieces were shattered all around," he said. "A man who was a street vendor was dead."

Even before the bombings the Foreign Office had warned of a "high threat from terrorism" in Turkey. "We believe that international terrorist groups, as well as indigenous ones, are currently active in Turkey. Further attacks, including in tourist areas, could well occur," it said.

Keith Betton of the Association of British Travel Agents said almost all tourists booked to leave the UK yesterday for Marmaris had gone. He said: "I do not envisage that people will react negatively to this - this is something like the 15th attack in Turkey in less than a year."

Britain's ambassador to Turkey, Peter Westmacott, said: "The people who set off these bombs have reminded us how vulnerable we are to the scourge of terrorism and the need for all governments to work together to defeat it."

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, also known as the Liberation Hawks, claimed responsibility for the blasts in Istanbul and Marmaris. Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the blast in Antalya.

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