Suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) attacked an İstanbul Transportation Authority (İETT) bus loaded with passengers with Molotov cocktails in İstanbul's Maltepe district on Sunday.
The driver of the bus and one of the passengers were barely saved from the blaze.
The attackers, who were wearing masks, poured oil over the bus after they stopped it and then threw Molotov cocktails they had in their hands. The men ran away from the scene of the incident when the bus caught fire.
Firefighters and police arrived at the scene of the attack after they were informed by the passengers from the bus. The fire on the bus was extinguished by the firefighters. The bus sustained serious damage as a result of the attack.
The bus had been running between Kadıköy and Gülsuyu.
Police have launched an extensive investigation in the area to capture the assailants.
In November of last year, a court made a landmark ruling to treat Molotov cocktails as weapons.
The court handed down jail sentences of 12 years and six months to two suspects who had been arrested for the possession of Molotov cocktails on charges of providing weapons to the terrorist PKK, classifying Molotov cocktails as a type of weapon.
A case filed against the two suspects at the Van 4th High Criminal Court in 2010 concluded last November with the court sentencing the two men to 12 years and six months in prison. The two were accused of possessing 16 fireworks and four Molotov cocktails during protests in support of the PKK and its jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan. The court stated that the Molotov cocktails and fireworks the men had prepared were intended for use against security forces, public buildings and private property during pro-PKK protests and thus constituted a crime of “providing weapons to a terrorist organization.”
The court recalled a 2009 incident in İstanbul's Küçükçekmece district in which 17-year-old Serap Eser succumbed to injuries sustained when a group of PKK supporters threw a Molotov cocktail into a municipal bus. “This incident shows that even a single Molotov cocktail can lead to serious consequences for people's lives and society,” the court said as it explained the grounds for its ruling.
Eser was severely injured in November 2009 by a Molotov cocktail attack on a municipal bus and died later at a hospital where she had been receiving treatment. Her killing with a Molotov cocktail attack spurred debates in the country about the way Molotov cocktails are legally defined.