Rebel group claims Turkey airport fire

A Kurdish rebel group has claimed responsibility for a huge fire at a Turkish airport, a pro-Kurdish news agency reported on its website.

    Clouds of smoke and flames could be seen at the airport

    Government officials refused to comment on the claim, which could not be independently verified, but officials had earlier ruled out sabotage as a cause of the fire at

    Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport.

    A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said an investigation to determine the cause of the fire was still under way.

    The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons Organisation, a hardline group linked to the main Kurdish rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, said it started the blaze, which destroyed much of the cargo terminal at the airport, according to the Netherlands-based Firat News Agency's website.

    Firat, which often receives information from Kurdish rebel leaders, said it received the claim by email.

    The hardline group has claimed eight bombings in Istanbul this year and recently said tourism and economic targets were among the group's priorities. Previous bombings left two dead and 47 injured.

    No casualties

    Local television footage showed black clouds of smoke and flames shooting more than 30 metres into the air while firefighting planes could be see flying over the airport.

    Three people suffered from smoke inhalation but there have been no other casualties, officials said.

    General director of state airport authority, Mahmut Tekin, said the fire had been brought under control and that "there is no problem with air traffic but some flights are delayed".

    Istanbul governor Muammer Guler told Turkish television:

    "There has been no loss of life, but we have suffered large-scale material damage."

    Cargo worker Omer Toplar said: "A huge black cloud came, it smelled like cables burning, the roof started burning. There was no explosion."

    The cargo building is used to store international cargo arriving in Istanbul. A hangar housing military aircraft is nearby.

    The fire caused panic at the airport, as authorities tried to evacuate thousands of people from nearby terminals.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.