The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
‘I thought it was an earthquake’

Istanbul, Nov. 20 (Reuters): Shattered bodies and rubble were strewn across the streets of Turkey’s commercial capital Istanbul once more today as the second pair of bombs in less than a week sent the city into a state of shock.

“We knew it was a bomb when an arm came flying through the window,” said a doctor at a nearby clinic.

The remains of a human torso lay in the road some 250 metres away from HSBC headquarters, the centre of one blast in Istanbul’s financial hub. The blast blew out windows for blocks around in the plush area of offices and upmarket villas.

Another bomb blew a large crater in the road and sent a thick plume of smoke into the air above the British consulate demolishing the perimetre wall and entrance of the 19th century Georgian building in the city’s shopping and night-life hub. As with the synagogue bombs, officials believe the latest attacks bore the hallmarks of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida network — carefully coordinated and targeted suicide attacks.

But while Saturday’s targets were Jews and today’s bombs were apparently aimed at British interests, the vast majority of victims were again Turkish Muslims. “I heard a large bang. I thought it was an earthquake,” said Adnan Akyildiz at the consulate.

“I threw myself out of the window... the scene was horrendous, the gate the consulate, the buildings were all demolished. A car was on fire.

“Then I looked for my friends, I saw four of the other cleaners dead, two of them were husband and wife.”

Witnesses reported a green van with the markings of a food company driving into the gate of the consulate as it exploded, the same devastating technique used five days before.

“I was blown off my seat and the debris in the office fell on me. There was smoke and dust everywhere. It stuck in my throat and I thought it may be poison,” said Abidin who was working in his office near the consulate.

Email This Page