June 1, 2006

Gas leak sparks explosion in Istanbul: police

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A gas leak triggered an explosion in a
five-story building in Istanbul on Thursday, injuring a number
of people, police sources said.

Separately, NTV private television blamed a fire for the
blast, which occurred at lunchtime in the Uskudar district on
the Asian side of Turkey's largest city. NTV said 14 people had
been hurt in the blast.

Television showed people covered in blood being treated
outside the building or being carried to ambulances.

CNN Turk television said the explosion occurred at a firing
range located in the basement of the building.

Blasts are not uncommon in Turkey and are often the work of
diverse militant groups operating in the country.

Kurdish separatists and ultra-leftist groups have claimed
responsibility for past explosions, especially in Istanbul, a
city of more than 12 million people straddling Europe and Asia.