July 2, 2005

Five dead in train blast in eastern Turkey

By Ferit Demir

TUNCELI, Turkey (Reuters) - Five soldiers were killed andeight people were injured on Saturday when a bomb planted byKurdish guerrillas exploded on a train in eastern Turkey,military officials said.

A second train which traveled to the scene to provideassistance was fired on by militants armed with rifles, anofficial said. It was not clear if there were any casualties inthis attack.

The state-run Anatolian news agency said a postal train wastargeted in the first attack. The five dead and three of thoseinjured were soldiers traveling on the train in Bingol provincebetween the eastern towns of Elazig and Tatvan when the blastoccurred around 10:15 a.m. (0715 GMT).

One official said rebels from the separatist KurdistanWorkers Party (PKK) were believed to have laid the C-4 plasticexplosives on the track and triggered them by remote control. Amilitary operation was launched to capture those responsible.

The blast toppled carriages, and work had begun to rescuepeople trapped inside, an official said. Around 100 people wereon board the train at the time. The injured were beingtransported to hospital by helicopter.

More than 30,000 people have been killed in the PKK's armedcampaign for self-rule in southeast Turkey since they took uparms in 1984.

The clashes tailed off after PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan wascaptured and jailed in 1999, but there has been a resurgence ofviolence since the group called off a unilateral ceasefire lastyear.

On Friday, police shot dead a suspected suicide bomber atthe Justice Ministry after he apparently tried to set off anexplosive device near Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's office.

Police grabbed him after he apparently set off a detonatorbut failed to explode his main device. He escaped into thestreet where police shot him.

Police gave the bomber's name as Eyup Beyaz and said he wasknown to be a member of Turkey's largest far-left faction, theRevolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).

Turkey has a long history of bombings mounted by a widerange of groups, from leftists to Islamists and the PKK, butsuicide attacks are rare.

Four devastating suicide bomb attacks claimed by a grouplinked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network killed more than60 people in Turkey's largest city of Istanbul in November2003.