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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Wave of Terror in Turkey

Aired November 20, 2003 - 07:01   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Letís turn now to the latest on this tragic toll on the terror attacks in Turkey, the explosions today in Istanbul, killing at least 17, injuring more than 350. The blasts happened almost simultaneously. CNN has confirmed that there were two blast sites. The targets seemed to have a British connection -- one site the British embassy itself, the other a London-based bank.
It's interesting, of course, because many people have said, well, why would al Qaeda be targeting places in Turkey? But, of course, the question now is with these targets obviously linked to the president's visit to London meeting with the queen and the British prime minister, sending a clear message at this time. There have been, we are told, people taking responsibility for the attacks.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: CNN Turk, one of our networks operating in that part of the world, says they received a call from -- in a government office, actually, in Istanbul, receiving a call from al Qaeda; also, a Turkish Islamic militant group. This is the same group that they believe may have been responsible for this past Saturday's deadly bombing, in which 25 were killed, near a Jewish synagogue in Istanbul.

But the devastation is quite clear and obvious from this video tape. Terrorism again has hit the country of Turkey. We've had numerous people on our air over the past several hours questioning and wondering why them? Why now? There may be this link with these British targets, possibly the British consulate in Istanbul, may be a link with the president's visit in London, but certainly a topic of discussion to be taken up at 10 Downing Street once that press conference gets under way at any moment.

O'BRIEN: At the same time, while these may be British targets, and so therefore the reasoning behind the attacks, which, of course, still remains to be seen, the area where the attacks happened, very crowded, a residential area where people clearly were walking by. So, not a question at all that many Turks will be injured as well, in addition to, if indeed the British members of the consulate and people working there in the area, in addition to those casualties.

So, it will be interesting to see -- and I know Carol was talking about this a little bit in the last hour -- the implications for al Qaeda when the numbers of injured and dead include massive numbers of the population itself.

HEMMER: Much more on this as we get it in here.

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