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Series of Explosions Rock Istanbul
James Martone
VOA, Cairo
20 Nov 2003, 12:08 UTC

A series of explosions rocked the city Istanbul Thursday. The blasts have reportedly killed at least 25 people and injured at least 100 others.

The explosions included blasts in front of the British-owned HSBC bank in an upscale district of Istanbul and another close to the British Consulate.

Television reports from Istanbul said body parts were scattered in front of the HSBC headquarters building. The reports said another bomb explosion tore off the wall surrounding the garden of the British consulate in the downtown district of Beyoglu.

TV reports from Istanbul showed scenes of devastation, with glass filled streets and rubble outside the British Council. Windows of surrounding houses were blown out. The blasts follow suicide attacks on two Istanbul Synagogues last Saturday that killed at least 23 people.

A unit of the al-Qaida network claimed responsibility for the synagogue attacks, and warned that it was planning more attacks against the United States.

British Foreign Minister Jack Straw was among the first to issue a condemnation, calling the attacks an ''appalling act of terrorism'' and saying they have all the hallmarks of al-Qaida. Turkey's Justice Minister Cemil Cicek was reported as saying the attacks were carried out by suicide car bombers.

Turkey's Foreign Minister, Abdullah Gul, among the first Turkish official to speak out on Thursday's blasts - has condemned the blasts, saying Turkey will not bow to terror.