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Bus Ambush Kills 3 in Istanbul; Riots Spread

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Men throw gasoline bombs at the vehicle, which runs into pedestrians. The attack may be related to pro-Kurdish rallies.

April 03, 2006|From the Associated Press

ISTANBUL, Turkey — A group of men stopped a passenger bus and tossed gasoline bombs at it, causing the vehicle to careen into pedestrians, killing three, in Turkey's largest city Sunday as pro-Kurdish riots continued to spread.

In the country's heavily Kurdish southeast, a pro-Kurdish demonstrator was killed, and local officials blamed police for his death.

Clashes between Kurdish demonstrators and security forces have spread from the southeast to Istanbul, which has a large Kurdish population.

In the attack in Istanbul's Bagcilar district, the bus driver backed up his flaming vehicle onto a sidewalk after the bombing, running down a group of people nearby, police said. Television images showed the bus propped up on the sidewalk and flames shooting out of every broken window. Police said two of the killed were elderly women.

Private NTV television said men had gathered around after the attack and shouted slogans for an outlawed Kurdish separatist group that is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

If the bus attack is found to have been carried out by pro-Kurdish demonstrators, it would bring to 12 the number of people killed in related violence in the last week.

The week of rioting was set off by funerals for 14 pro-autonomy Kurdish guerrillas killed by Turkish troops. Thousands of protesters have rampaged since, attacking police, banks and government offices.

Meanwhile, a militant Kurdish group warned tourists Sunday to stay away, saying it would target tourist areas of Turkey. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons had claimed responsibility for an attack last year on tourists in the Aegean resort of Cesme that injured 21 people and a Friday blast in Istanbul that killed one.

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