Bomb blast at Istanbul Masonic lodge kills at least 2

ISTANBUL, Turkey – A bomb blast at a building housing a Masonic lodge killed at least two people and wounded five others Tuesday, police said. News reports blamed at least one suicide bomber, just months after four deadly terror strikes in this city.

Turkey’s NTV and CNN television stations reported that a third person was killed in the explosion, adding that it had occurred on the Asian side of the Bosphorus Straits that bisect Turkey’s largest city. NTV said two of the dead were believed to be suicide bombers.

CNN-Turk television said a man chanting “Allah, Allah” entered the building and detonated an explosive. Authorities acknowledged that the blast was caused by a bomb, but would not immediately confirm that a suicide bomber was behind the attack.

Ambulances and firefighters rushed to the scene in the residential Kartal district, the Anatolia news agency said.

The Masons, a highly secretive society that traces its roots to medieval craft associations, are active in this predominantly Muslim but strictly secular country.

Four suicide attacks against two synagogues, the British Consulate and a British bank killed 62 people in Istanbul in November. Prosecutors have indicted 69 people suspected of belonging to a local Al-Qaida cell in the case. Also, underground leftist and Kurdish groups are active in Istanbul.

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