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Four blasts hit Turkish cities

From CNN Turk Reporter Ozden Erkus

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Scene from the November 2003 bombing of the British Consulate in Istanbul.
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ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) -- Four small explosions have hit the Turkish cities Ankara and Istanbul, targeting offices of a British-owned bank, HSBC.

No injuries or casualties were reported.

The explosions Sunday evening come just ahead of a visit to Turkey by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Two blasts went off outside two HSBC offices in Istanbul at 9:30 p.m. (1830 GMT), followed an hour later by two simultaneous explosions targeting HSBC facilities in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

One of the Ankara bombs is believed to have been placed under a car, Reuters reports. When detonated it smashed the windows of the bank branch.

In November, suicide bombers struck an HSBC office, two synagogues and the British consulate in Istanbul, killing 60 people.

Turkish authorities have linked the attacks to a terrorist group with ties to al Qaeda.

Far-leftist and Kurdish militant groups have also carried out bombings in Turkey in the past.

Blair will visit Turkey Monday for talks with top Turkish leaders.

Blair was expected to pledge his support for Ankara's bid to join the European Union and to discuss the turmoil in neighboring Iraq during his six-hour visit.

He is to visit Turkey again in late June for a NATO summit in Istanbul.


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