updated 3/10/2004 5:14:10 AM ET 2004-03-10T10:14:10

A suicide bomb attack by two suspected Islamic militants on a Masonic lodge which killed one person and wounded five others was not believed to be the work of al-Qaida, blamed for a series of suicide bombings in Istanbul last year, authorities said.

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the entrance of a Masonic lodge in Kartal district late Tuesday after opening gunfire with automatic weapons on diners. One of the attackers died and one lost an arm and suffered severe abdominal injuries in the assault, private NTV television reported.

One of the bombers reportedly chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) before he detonated the bomb. The wounded assailant, who identified himself as Abdullah Islam, shouted "Down with the Israeli lodge" as he was being taken to hospital, leading dailies Milliyet and Hurriyet reported Wednesday.

NTV television quoting police said Islam was an Afghan.

The attack came months after four suicide bombings blamed on Osama bin Laden's terrorist group al-Qaida killed dozens of people in Istanbul.

Style, weapons, bombs different from al-Qaida
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but Gov. Muammer Guler of Istanbul on Wednesday said the attack was not believed to be connected to the November bombings on two Istanbul Synagogues, the British consulate and a British bank.

"The style of the attack, the weapons and bombs that were used ... are very different," Guler said.

Police said the attackers strapped about 10 homemade pipe bombs to their flak jackets. They shot the guard in his feet and stormed the restaurant opening gunfire on about 40 people dining there, according to the police. They then detonated bombs at the entrance of the restaurant, killing a waiter.

A senior police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the police did not think the attack was carried out by al-Qaida or Hezbollah, according to the daily Hurriyet.

"We believe the attacks were carried out by inexperienced militants," Hurriyet quoted the official as saying.

The injured assailant underwent an operation early Wednesday but was still in serious condition, NTV said. Police were investigating his identity.

Scene of panic
Yakup Yildirim, who rushed to the scene to help the injured, said survivors told him that one of the attackers chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) before he detonated the bomb -- which could indicate the attack was the responsibility of radical Islamic militants.

"Everyone was panicking, everyone was asking where their friends were," Yildirim said.

Another witness, Turabi Guneser, told NTV that he heard a series of gun shots before the blasts.

"I was near the window and I heard two shots, which were followed by automatic gunfire," Guneser said. "Two blasts followed seconds later and smoke covered the air."

The Masons, a secretive society that traces its roots to medieval craft associations, are widely seen as supporters of policies of Israel and the United States by radical Islamic circles. The Masons are active in this predominantly Muslim but strictly secular country, with some 200 Masonic lodges and more than 13,000 members.

Last November, four suicide attacks against two synagogues, the British Consulate and a British bank killed 62 people in Istanbul.

Prosecutors indicted 69 people suspected of belonging to a local al-Qaida cell.

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