Cablegate: Explosion On Thy Plane in Istanbul

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

Sensitive but Unclassified. Please Handle Accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: A bomb detonated on a Turkish
Airlines Boeing 737 today in Istanbul following its
arrival from Izmir as it was being cleaned. There are
conflicting reports as to the number of injuries to
cleaning crew and the explosive used. End Summary.

2. (SBU) News agencies reported an explosion at about
12:30 p.m. local time on board a Turkish Airlines 737
as it was being cleaned after landing at Istanbul
Ataturk Airport following a domestic flight from Izmir.
According to these press reports, after all passengers
had deplaned, a member of the cleaning crew noticed a
wallet which had been left on board. It exploded as he
was about to open it. There are conflicting reports as
whether one, two or three employees were injured.
According to press reports, law enforcement authorities
also searched a plane on the ground nearby for
explosives, but none were found. According to these
press reports, the police are also examining the
passenger list to determine who was sitting in the seat
where the wallet was found, as well as surrounding
seats. Hurriyet reported that this plane was scheduled
to fly to Stockholm from Istanbul, but other sources
identified the onward destination as Hamburg.

3. (U) Local newswires also reported - though we have
not been able to confirm this - that THY temporarily
halted all flights after an unidentified person called
in to warn that THY passengers flying from Kars to
Izmir through Ankara would protest NATO. THY told the
press that Ankara airport authorities subjected
passengers from the Kars flight as well as several
other flights to extra checks.

4. (SBU) Turgay Sahan, of the Turkish National Police
Protection Division, told us that the press stories
were generally accurate, and that airport authorities
were still investigating the explosion.

5. (SBU) THY Security Director Ahmet Kanik told us that
a small, make-up bag was found in the first row, near
the plane exit. He stated that there had not been much
damage to the plane itself, and that it might be able
to return to service within several hours. He could
not confirm the plane's onward destination, but pointed
out that the plane had been moved to the international
terminal area for cleaning, implying that it would be
used on an international flight. There are conflicting
reports as to the explosive material used.

6. (SBU) TSA Paris Representative Nouri Larbi, who is
working TDY at Istanbul Airport, told us that airport
authorities reported three employees injured, two
seriously. Other Turkish sources, however, report that
only one person was injured. The airport authorities
closed off gate 213 and several surrounding gates in
the terminal while they search the plane. Larbi said
they are checking to ensure that there is no other,
undetonated charge on the aircraft or the terminal.
Both Larbi and Istanbul RSO said they had heard
unconfirmed rumors that a second explosive device has
been found in the domestic terminal's baggage transfer
area. The authorities have detained some of the 83
passengers on the flight (mainly those planning
international connections) while the incident is being
investigated. TSA is attempting to obtain a passenger
manifest so that names can be checked against USG

© Scoop Media

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