Suicide bomber kills two police officers

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- A suicide bomber set off an explosive in front of a police post Monday, killing two policemen, injuring 20 people and creating panic in Istanbul's nearby main square, a popular destination for tourists.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which created such a gruesome scene that police dashed to the area and covered bloody body parts with newspaper, putting stones on top to prevent the paper from blowing away.

Turkish media, quoting police sources, identified the dead bomber as Ugur Bulbul, a member of a Marxist group, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front.

Police would not comment on the reports.

The group is leading a yearlong hunger strike to protest prison conditions. Thirty-three fasters have died so far.

It would not be the first time that the group carried out a suicide attack. In January, a member of the group blew himself up in a police cafeteria and killed an officer to protest prison conditions.

Monday's attacker approached a police post, where officers who patrol the square gather, and detonated the bomb, according to Istanbul Gov. Erol Cakir, who said 17 of the injured were police officers.

Another of the injured was an Australian tourist who lost her arm in the blast, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said.

The explosion took place in a side street off Istanbul's Taksim Square and some 150 yards from the German Consulate.

The area was filled with people waiting for buses and is home to offices and stores.

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