Image: Turkish blast damage.
AFP - Getty Images
Police officers survey damage following a blast in the Turkish coastal city of Antalya on Monday. A Kurdish militant group claimed responsibility for the bombing on Tuesday.
updated 8/29/2006 7:33:09 AM ET 2006-08-29T11:33:09

A hard-line Kurdish militant group claimed responsibility Tuesday for a bomb attack that killed three people in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons claimed responsibility on its web site for Monday's attack.

The group had earlier said it carried out a bus bombing that injured 10 Britons and 11 Turks in the Mediterranean resort town of Marmaris on Sunday.

"We have promised to turn ... Turkey into hell. Our principle is more actions, bigger blows," the group said. "The fear of death will reign everywhere in Turkey."

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons is a small militant group believed to be an offshoot of the much larger Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

Meantime, security forces searched for two people suspected of planting the bomb in Antalya, and police arrested a suspected Kurdish rebel believed to be plotting a new bomb attacks.

Attacks against the critical tourism industry are very sensitive in Turkey and authorities would not immediately confirm that the attack in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya was the result of a bomb attack. But the Milliyet newspaper and other reports said police had drawn up sketches of two suspects from descriptions of men seen fleeing the scene, suggesting that the explosion was the result of a bomb.

Last year Turkey hosted 21 million tourists, which brought in some US$18 billion of revenue.

Kurdish rebel detained
In the Aegean port city of Izmir, police on Monday detained a suspected Kurdish rebel they claimed had infiltrated into Turkey from northern Iraq in order to carry out bombings, the state-owned Anatolia news agency reported. Police searching his home found 5.5 pounds of plastic explosives, the report said.

The European Union on Tuesday condemned the bombings.

"I strongly condemn the bomb attacks committed on Sunday and Monday in Turkey," said EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana.

"I wish to extend my condolences to the Turkish government and my heartfelt sympathy to the families of the victims. My thoughts are also with all those who were injured in those senseless acts of violence."

In Europe, tour operators have said that so far, there have been few cancellations of trips to Turkey.

"Of course, this has only happened in the last 48 hours, but experience has taught us that very few people cancel on the basis of these kind of cases," said Mirjam Dresme of the Dutch industry association of tour operators, ANVR.

She said that people who book to Turkey know already that a bomb attack is a possibility.

"The average Dutch person thinks 'I've already booked, and I'm just going to go,"' she said.

European tourists hit in bombings
Monday's afternoon blast ripped the facade off at least one multistory building and several shops in the center of Antalya, not far from the beach, and triggered a huge fire that incinerated the bodies of two people who were apparently killed in the explosion. A third person died in a hospital.

The injured included four Israeli, three German and one Russian tourists.

Antalya is a popular tourist resort with Russians, Germans and Israelis.

Kurdish militants have been fighting for autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984 and most PKK attacks have been limited to the largely Kurdish southeast. The Falcons, however, have concentrated attacks on Turkey's western cities and tourism centers.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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