Turkey promises swift response

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Turkey would not "bow to terror" after blasts rocked Istanbul.

    Fifteen people are believed dead and 320 wounded

    The minister vowed swift action from intelligence and security services, insisting everyone must know Ankara would never "give up to terrorism". 

    Both Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu and Justice Minister Cemil Cicek added they believe the three blasts which rocked Istanbul were linked to two explosions that hit the city last Saturday killing 25 people.
       
    Usama bin Ladin's al-Qaida network claimed responsibility for the last blasts, which destroyed two synagogues in Turkey's commercial capital.

    British interests targeted

    Television and witnesses say at least 15 people died in attacks appeared to target British interests, hitting the British consulate and the HSBC Bank.

    British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was quick to condemn the attacks.
     
    "I'm afraid to say it has all the hallmarks of international terrorism practised by al-Qaida and associated organisations," Straw told reporters in Britain's first reaction to the blast.
      
    The attack on British interests in Ankara comes at the same time US President George Bush is visiting Britain.

    The White House spokesman, Sean McCormack, said Washington would monitor the situation but has not blamed any organisation as yet.

    Shock reaction

    The explosions also had an immediate impact on European stock markets.

    Reversing early gains, the British FTSE 100 dropped 0.42% to 4309.3 points, while the German DAX 30 and the French CAC 40 fell too.

    "The constant threat of global terrorism is always at the back of people's minds. We saw the effect it had after 11 September and I guess people become extremely nervous during these types of events," Henk Potts, analyst at Barclays Stockbrokers, said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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