One more Ankara bombing victim dies

July 05, 2007, Thursday/ 20:51:00
A man who was confined to the intensive care unit of an Ankara hospital after suffering serious injuries in a suicide bombing in the capitol on May 22 has died in his hospital bed, agencies reported Wednesday.
Hamza Arı, a victim of the bombing in Ankara's Ulus district, lost his life at the Gazi University School of Medicine hospital late Tuesday night, doctors there said.

Arı's death brings to nine the total number of lives lost to the bombing. Prior to Arı's death, Hülya Develi, who was also hospitalized after the blast, passed away on June 19.

A powerful explosion in front of the Anafartalar shopping mall in the busy Ulus district of Ankara during rush hour killed six and injured more than 100 at the scene on May 22. Six died immediately while one of those hospitalized died on June 7, followed by Develi's death two weeks later, bringing the number to eight.

Officials announced that the explosion was the result of a suicide attack. The bomber was identified as Güven Akkuş, born in 1979, who had two earlier convictions on his criminal record.

Officials also said the explosive device was similar to those used by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorist organization. However, the organization denied responsibility in a statement posted on the Internet. Another suspect, the Turkish Revolutionary Communist Union (TİKB), of which Akkuş was a member in 1996, also stated that it had no responsibility in the attack.

Akkuş was reportedly being closely followed by police intelligence agents. The police said Akkuş was in Ulus to acquire a bomb he planned to use later but panicked and detonated the bomb after he realized he was being followed by intelligence personnel.

Intelligence sources believe that Akkuş's real target wasn't the Anafartalar shopping area, but the Constitutional Court, to be attacked the following day. Heavy security measures were employed at the Constitutional Court in the days following the bombing.

A senior source noted that the capture of Akkuş had been planned after he acquired a bomb. The same source said that Akkuş detonated the bomb in panic.

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