Bomb Blast in Turkish Party Office Leaves Two Injured

ISTANBUL (AP)–A bomb blast at an Istanbul branch of the party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has injured at least two people.

The explosion shattered windows up to the third floor at the Justice and Development Party’s office in Istanbul’s low-income Esenyurt district–on the European side of the city. It comes at the end of a week of unrest–attacks–and rioting that have left 15 dead–including four in Istanbul.

A Kurdish militant group claimed responsibility for an Istanbul bombing on Friday–and has singled out the prime minister and his party as targets.

Also on Wednesday–suspected Kurdish rebels ambushed and killed three Turkish soldiers–and are believed to have set the land mines that killed two others. A policeman wounded in a gun attack by suspected rebels also died in hospital–bringing the death toll for security forces in the day to six.

The injured in Wednesday’s Istanbul blast included the local head of the Justice and Development Party’s youth section–party press officer Osman Bekar said.

"A bomb exploded in our building; two of our people are injured," Bekar said. "There is considerable damage."

Istanbul party leader Mehmet Muezzinoglu called the Istanbul bombing "an abhorrent attack," saying "those who want to harm the environment of calm and security will not get away with it."

Television footage showed shattered windows and glass scattered across the street. A man with a bandage around his head was being escorted into an ambulance–and paramilitary police cordoned off the building.

A firebomb was thrown at the Turkish consulate in Paris early Wednesday morning and a Turkish diplomat said Kurdish rebels were suspected of carrying out the attack.

The firebomb thrown at the consulate’s front door caused no injuries or damage–said Derya Tutumel–a Turkish Embassy press officer.

Widespread rioting that began in the Kurdish-populated southeast of Turkey after funerals for four Kurdish guerrillas has also brought violence to Istanbul in the past week. One person was killed in a bomb attack claimed by a Kurdish group–and three others were killed after masked men threw gasoline bombs at a packed city bus.

The Istanbul bombing Friday killed one and injured more than 10 others. The group that claimed responsibility for the bombing promised more attacks and threatened to carry out operations against the ruling Justice and Development Party.

"The time has come for operations against the fascist party’s buildings and workers," the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons said in a release posted Sunday on their website.

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