Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain towards the end of January 2018 for about a month
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday, 20 November 2003

Istanbul terrorism - 2 more major bomb incidents this morning

I just heard on BBC News24 that there have been two further bombings in Istanbul, following on from those on synagogues last Saturday (when 23 people were killed and between 200 and 300 were injured - 257 is the last figure I have).

In the latest incidents, as reported by the BBC, a bomb was detonated in/near the HSBC bank headquarters building and a couple of minutes later a car bomb was detonated at the British Consulate. Reports so far indicate that at least 15 people have been killed and over 300 injured (although I have also heard that 100 have been injured, so the position remains very unclear). Comments I have heard on BBC News24 seem to indicate the attacks are connected to the visit of US President Bush to the UK, and of course the UK is the closest ally of the US; perhaps having concluded it was unlikely to be successful in attacks within the UK, because security is so high at present, they chose British targets elsewhere thought to be more vulnerable.

A group calling itself the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front (apparently also known by the acronym IBDA-C) seems to have claimed responsibility for last Saturday's outrages and claims also to have links to al-Qa'ida. It is being speculated that al-Qa'ida, by one means or another, is behind this latest series of outrages (at the time of writing it is thought there is a risk that today's incidents are not yet over).

The fact that HSBC in Turkey has been attacked (a British-domiciled financial services institution) is of particular interest to me because it is with that organisation that I spent over 20 years of my professional career. I have just heard (a couple of moments ago) on BBC News24 that the bank has announced that an "unknown number" of its staff in Istanbul have been killed. It is also a fact that whilst no HSBC staff were killed in the World Trade Center outrages of 11th September 2001, its office was completely destroyed that day, too - it was located not in one of the two towers which collpased, but in one of the other low-rise buildings which formed part of the WTC complex (5 WTC).

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