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Terrorist group claims Manavgat explosion

ISTANBUL – TDN with AP | 6/28/2006 12:00:00 AM |

A terrorist group said it was responsible for an explosion over the weekend that killed four people, including three foreign tourists, but local authorities said on Tuesday it was caused by an exploding gas

A terrorist group said it was responsible for an explosion over the weekend that killed four people, including three foreign tourists, but local authorities said on Tuesday it was caused by an exploding gas canister.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) claimed responsibility for the explosion in a call to the pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency, warning tourists again not to come to Turkey, Fırat said. But authorities denied the claims.

"It wasn't that. It was a gas canister explosion," said Güzide Örmeci, a spokeswoman for the governor's office of the Mediterranean resort town of Antalya.

Turkish authorities are reluctant to publicize terrorist attacks at the height of the tourism season in Turkey. When there was a bombing in Istanbul earlier this month, the police chief asked journalists not to "exaggerate" it "because the tourist season is coming up."

Authorities later said that explosion was caused by a bomb in a trash can, which the TAK also claimed.

The explosion on Sunday occurred at a restaurant near a waterfall in Manavgat, a popular tourist district of Antalya. Killed were a Russian, a Norwegian, a Hungarian and a Turkish waiter, authorities have said.

The Vatan newspaper said security cameras near the waterfall showed two people standing watch as another put a package into a trash container some 20 minutes before the explosion.

"A bomb in Manavgat, not a canister!" a front page headline said.

The newspaper's claims could not be independently verified, and Vatan did not publish pictures from the security cameras.

The TAK have claimed responsibility for several fires, sabotage attacks and explosions, but authorities have either denied or failed to verify those claims.

Turkey says the TAK is just a cover for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey since 1984, and some 37,000 people have been killed.

Separately, no official reason has yet been given for the massive fire in May that destroyed much of the cargo section at airport in Istanbul, which the TAK also claimed.

 

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