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Turkish blast kills 3 in possible terror attack

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Tue September 20, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A car explodes in central Ankara, the interior minister says
  • NEW: The possibility that it was a terror attack is high, he says
  • Wounded people are taken to nearby hospitals

(CNN) -- Three people died Tuesday in an explosion in the Turkish capital Ankara, in what may have been a terror attack, Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin told CNN sister network CNN Turk.

"There was a powerful explosion in a car that was parked," the minister said, citing preliminary information. "The possibility that it was a terrorist attack is high."

He said it was also possible that a gas explosion had caused the blast, "though that is a weak possibility."

The explosion shook a crowded street in the center of Ankara, damaging vehicles and buildings on Kumrular Street near the Kizilay metro station, the official Anatolia news agency reported.

An eyewitness described the scene as "terrible" and "very chaotic."

"Cars were exploding. Pieces were spreading around. We were terrified," the unnamed witness told CNN Turk.

Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said earlier there were no deaths, but 15 people were wounded, Anatolia reported.

Ankara governor Alaaddin Yuksel said officials, including police and a prosecutor, were investigating the cause of the blast.

He said many cars were parked on the street with garbage bags under them at the time of the explosion.

Five people are in surgery, he added.

An emergency services doctor at Numune Hospital in Ankara said 10 injured people were brought to the hospital. One was in intensive care, one was in the burn unit and the other eight have light injuries, said the doctor.

None of the injuries are life-threatening, said the doctor, who did not give a name. Doctors in state hospitals are not allowed to speak to the media.

The explosion took place in front of the Cankaya municipal building, local official Bulent Tanik said on Turkish television.

He cited eyewitnesses as saying a burning gas tank had been thrown out a window onto the street.

Police have sealed off the street, Anatolia reported.

--CNN's Yesim Comert and Talia Kayali contributed to this report.

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