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At Least 25 Dead in New Istanbul Bombings - 2003-11-21


Bomb blasts have hit the British consulate and a London-based bank in Istanbul, Turkey, and officials say at least 25 people have been killed and nearly 400 injured.

Reports in Istanbul say the British consul-general in Istanbul is missing and may may be among the dead, along with other consulate employees.

The Associated Press quotes the Istanbul governor as saying attackers blew up two pickup trucks carrying explosives. One blast was outside the consulate and the other seriously damaged a high-rise building that housed the offices of London-based bank HSBC.

The explosions came five days after 25 people died in suicide bombings outside two Jewish synagogues in Istanbul. The bombers in those attacks have been identified as Turkish men who share the philosophy of the al-Qaida terrorist network.

An unidentified caller to Turkey's Anatolia news agency claimed that al-Qaida and a Turkish Islamic militant group (Great Eastern Islamic Raiders Front) jointly were responsible for today's (Thursday's) blasts. The claim could not be confirmed.

In London, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw referred to the blasts as acts of terrorism and said they bear all the hallmarks of al-Qaida.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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