Bombs strike two Turkish cities

Hours earlier, three people were injured by a small explosion outside a hotel in Ankara where US President George W Bush will shortly be staying while attending a NATO summit.

Turkish police officials said the bus blast was most likely triggered accidentally, possibly detonating after the vehicle drove over a bump in the road.

A woman in her mid-20s had been carrying the small so-called ‘sound bomb’ while travelling on a crowded city bus when it went off, killing her and two other passengers.

According to the country’s state-run Anatolia news agency, authorities have arrested three suspects, two men and a woman, who were believed to be on board the bus when the explosion occurred.

Another small parcel bomb, placed outside the Hilton Hotel in the capital Ankara, was claimed by the radical Marxist group MLFP-FESK.

In a separate incident, Turkish police also defused a time bomb in the north-west city of Yalova.

The home-made explosive consisted of a mixture of fertilisers and diesel and had been placed outside a car shop on the outskirts of the city.

Already on high security alert ahead of the NATO talks on June 28, Turkey has ratcheted-up its police presence in Istanbul.

A 10-kilometre perimeter will be maintained around the venue banning traffic, and NATO planes will patrol the skies above while 23,000 security officers will secure the streets.

The White House has issued a statement saying “nothing has changed” in President Bush’s schedule, and he will fly into Ankara for talks with Turkish officials ahead of a meeting with other NATO leaders in Istanbul.

The visit by around 50 world leaders, from NATO’s 26 member countries, is expected to spark mass anti-US protests in Turkey’s largest city.

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