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Terrorist attacks in turkey imminent

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Terrorist attacks in Turkey 'imminent'
By Danielle Demetriou
26 November 2003

Further terrorist attacks in Turkey were described yesterday as "imminent" by the Foreign Office as Britons were urged to avoid travelling to major cities in the country.

The warning came as nine people appeared in court in Istanbul in connection with the twin suicide attacks on British targets which killed 30 and injured more than 450.

The suspects, who were detained as suspected accomplices to the suicide bombers, were charged with membership of an illegal organisation which carries up to five years in prison. As authorities continued their investigations, the Foreign Office said that intelligence had been received suggesting further terrorist attacks in Turkey. Travel advice to Britons was revised to warn against all but the most essential travel to major Turkish cities. "We have information to suggest that further attacks may be imminent in Istanbul and Ankara," it read.

Three Britons were killed in the bombings last Thursday, including the consul general Roger Short, after the British consulate and HSBC Bank were targeted. The attacks claimed their latest victim yesterday when Hulya Donmez, 27, died from serious head injuries. Her British fiancÚ Graham Carter, 34, from Lincolnshire, is in a critical condition. As officers from the Metropolitan Police's Anti-Terrorist Branch assisted their Turkish counterparts with the investigation, London remained on a state of high alert.

Andy Trotter, the Metropolitan Police's Deputy Assistant Commissioner, disclosed yesterday that a number of intended terrorist strikes in the capital had been foiled.

While he said that the discoveries had led to a number of "significant arrests", he urged members of the public to remain "alert but not alarmed". "We have most definitely foiled attacks on London," he said. Referring to fears that the victory parade of England's World Cup Rugby squad may be targeted by terrorists, he added: "We will do everything we can to facilitate their tour around the centre of London and to make sure it is a joyous but safe event."

The sporting world was also reconsidering its schedule. Chelsea's Champions League match against the Turkish team Besiktas, which is due to take place in Turkey next month, is to be moved to a neutral venue.

Uefa, the governing body of European football, is also planning to switch the away fixture of the tie between the Italian side Juventus and Galatasaray. A Uefa cup tie in Izmir, involving the Spanish side Valencia, will also be moved.

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