Saturday, November 15, 2003

# Posted 5:30 PM by Patrick Belton  

ROUND-UP OF THE NEWS ON THE ISTANBUL TRAGEDY: At the moment, Turkish officials are placing the number of causalties at 23 dead and 302 wounded. While the Iran-backed Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front, also known as IBDA-C (info, more), immediately claimed responsibility in a telephone call to the Anatolia News Agency (Guardian), Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul blamed international terrorist organizations for being principally responsible (Zaman, Turkey). Similarly, Israeli officials are saying that they had never heard of the group before Saturday, and are blaming Al Qaeda rather than Hezbullah (Haaretz), while Prof. Gabriel Ben-Dor of Haifa's National Security Studies Centre argues that indigenous Turkish Islamists could not have carried out the attacks unaided by external networks: "These were fairly sophisticated terrorist attacks, carried out almost simultaneously, that would have required quite a good deal of planning, intelligence, logistic support, and so forth," he said in an interview. (Jerusalem Post). Israel has sent Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom to Istanbul, as well as a police forensic unit. CNN reports on three arrests in connection with the bombings.

Turkey's Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Haleva said he had warned Turkish police before that car traffic posed a threat to the two synagogues (News 24, South Africa). Mossad had also passed warnings about threats to the two synagogues onto Turkish intelligence on two occasions in the preceding months. (AP) One blast, in Neve Shalom synagogue, took place during a Bar Mitzvah (Guardian). Reuters includes a history of the Sephardic community in Istanbul.

Eli malei rachamim sho-khein bam'romim, hammtzei m'nukhah n'khonah al kanfei hash'khinah.
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