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Explosives cut Iran-Turkey gas pipeline

A Turkish pipeline carrying natural gas was struck Friday, causing a large explosion and the wounding of several soldiers. Turkish authorities are calling the incident a terrorist attack.

Turkish soldiers secure the mountainous region of Hakkari on the border with Iraq (26.01.2007)

Türkei Soldaten Kurdengebiet

A blast cut a pipeline carrying gas from Iran to eastern Turkey and injured soldiers travelling by in a passing military vehicle, reported the Hurriyet Daily News online.

"Sabotage carried out late last night on the pipeline caused damage and triggered a fire. Twenty-eight soldiers on duty in the area were wounded," said a Turkish official.

The attack occurred in the area of Eleskirt, a town in the Agri province of Turkey. Soldiers have been taken to various hospitals in the area, where they are being treated for minor injuries such as burns and smoke inhalation. So far, no deaths have been reported.

The flow of gas had been previously stopped on October 8 after an explosion and resumed a week later. It is unclear when the pipeline will be restored this time around.

“Damage assessment will be conducted on the pipeline. After the extent of the damage is determined, we'll be able to say when the flow will resume,” said a Turkish energy official.

Turkish officials said the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for the attack. The outlawed militant group has conducted numerous attacks on pipelines in the past.

cg/slk (Reuters, dpa)