Bomb injures 17 in Cologne's Turkish quarter

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The Independent Online

A bomb packed with nails ripped through a crowded shopping street in a Turkish immigrant quarter of the German city of Cologne yesterday, injuring at least 17 people

A bomb packed with nails ripped through a crowded shopping street in a Turkish immigrant quarter of the German city of Cologne yesterday, injuring at least 17 people.

Police said the bomb exploded "completely without warning" late yesterday afternoon outside a hairdresser's shop and pizza parlour on Keupstrasse, which is home to dozens of Turkish small businesses.

Witnesses said shoppers and traders were hit by the blast, which left many bleeding heavily from their wounds and calling for help. Four people were seriously injured.

"The street was covered in nails after the attack, the bomb appears to have been packed with them," a Cologne police spokeswoman who arrived at the scene of the attack shortly afterwards said. The area surrounding the shop was cordoned off for two hours as police conducted searches of neighbouringbuildings.

Police said they had received no advance warning about the attack. "We have no idea what provoked this incident," said Wolfgang Beus, a police spokesman.

German media reports yesterday suggested that one of the possible motives for the attack could have been feuding between Kurdish and Turkish immigrant groups. Cologne is also home to a Muslim extremist group headed by the Turkish immigrant Metin Kaplan, known as the Calif of Cologne. Germany is currently seeking to extradite Mr Kaplan to Turkey because of his extremist views.

In his sermons, Mr Kaplan has justified the shooting dead of unbelievers, in the interests of serving the Islamic faith. So far attempts by the German government to organise his extradition have failed because of legal complications.

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