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SLUG: 2-318142 Turkey Blasts S/L
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=08/10/04

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=TURKEY / BLASTS (S/L)

NUMBER=2-318142

BYLINE=AMBERIN ZAMAN

DATELINE=ANKARA

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

HEADLINE: Blasts Kill at Least Two in Turkey

INTRO: At least two people were killed and eight others injured after simultaneous bombs went off at two hotels in Istanbul. Istanbul's police chief said the explosions were mostly likely a terrorist attack. Amberin Zaman in Ankara has more.

TEXT: The explosions took place early Tuesday at two hotels in Istanbul's Laleli and Sultanahmet districts, which are close to popular historical sites. One of the bombs went off on the third floor of the six-story Pars hotel 10 minutes after an anonymous caller tipped off hotel staff about the attack. Around 37 guests were at the hotel at the time.

Police said several foreigners were hurt in that blast but declined to give further details.

The other bomb rocked the Holiday hotel in Sultanahmet, just a few kilometers away from where the U.S. men's Olympic basketball team is staying before moving on to Greece.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, which come at the height of Turkey's tourist season.

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Home to the world famous Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque, Sulthanahmet is very popular among Western tourists. Laleli caters to traders from former Soviet bloc nations as well as to Middle Eastern tourists.

Security concerns have mounted in Turkey's largest city since last November, when suicide bombers linked to the al-Qaida terror network attacked two synagogues, a British consulate and a British-owned bank, killing at least 60 people.

Separately, two bombs exploded at a liquefied gas filling station on the outskirts of Istanbul. In the capital Ankara, unidentified attackers hurled a Molotov cocktail at a government building. No one was hurt in either attack. (Signed)

NEB/HK/AZ/KPD/MH



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