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UK interests in Istanbul hit; 27 dead
November 20, 2003 15:26 IST
Last Updated: November 21, 2003 00:41 IST
At least 27 people were killed and 450 wounded in two bomb attacks in Istanbul, Turkey, on Thursday.
The targets of the attacks, thought to have been carried out by suicide car bombers, were the British consulate in Beyoglu and the HSBC bank in Levent.
CNN reported that the British Counsel-General Roger Short was among those killed.
Consulate chaplain Ian Sherwood told CNN: "It is quite devastating, the whole thing."
"A lot of people would also have been injured. There was a lot of shop windows and glass shattering."
The attacks came just a few days after two synagogue bombings killed 20 people in Istanbul.
Turkish Foreign Minister Abullah Gul said his country would not bow to terror.
"We are faced with organised terrorist attacks," the BBC quoted him as saying. "This time it was British interests; last week it was two synagogues."
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the blasts bore "all the hallmarks of the international terrorism operations practised by Al Qaeda and associated organisations".
US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair also condemned the attacks.
Blair called them a "callous brutal murder of the innocent".
At a news conference in London with the visiting Bush, Blair said the attacks showed how important it was for coalition forces to "carry on" their mission in places like Iraq.
"We stay until the job gets done," he said.
Bush said, "The nature of the terrorists is evidenced once again. We see their utter contempt for innocent life. They hate freedom, they hate free nations."
The blasts overshadowed Bush's state visit to Britain.
His entourage was on its way to Westminster Abbey for a wreath-laying ceremony as the first pictures of the devastation and injuries in Istanbul appeared on TV.
Also see: Car bombs kill 20 in Turkey synagogues