Two Turkish soldiers were killed last night by simultaneous roadside bombs that rocked two hotels in a tourist area of Istanbul. The blasts, triggered by remote control, injured at least seven other people, including a Turkish non-commissioned officer, and were described by police as "terrorist attacks".
Turkish television showed emergency services personnel carrying casualties, mostly foreigners, to ambulances at the scene, where glass and debris was scattered on the street, Reuters reported. Local reports blamed Kurdish rebels. The city has been on high alert after a series of terrorist attacks linked to al-Qaida.
The blasts in the tourist district of Sultanahmet, the historical heart of Turkey's biggest city and financial capital, came at around 2am local time (2200 BST). They appeared to target small, economy hotels; one had 37 guests staying, reports Guardian.co.uk
The other explosion happened on the second floor of the Holiday Hotel in Sultanahmet, the historical heart of Istanbul where many of its Byzantine and Ottoman monuments are located.
Police sealed off the area around both hotels and forensic teams searched through the debris for evidence. Anatolian said police also searched several other hotels for suspects and further explosive devices.
The agency said the blasts at the gas storage complex followed a telephone tip-off about a bomb, and a company official said intruders had cut through a fence at the complex.
"These people put two bombs in the storage area, which exploded at a 30-minute interval. There was a gas leak, but we stopped that and there is currently no danger," company official Tayfun Demiroren was quoted as saying.
More than 60 people were killed in four suicide bomb attacks on British and Jewish targets in the city last November. The attacks were carried out by a group linked to al Qaeda, informs Reuters.co.uk