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Turkish gas pipeline to remain closed for 3 days after bombing

The damaged section of the pipeline, near the Iranian border, has been ablaze since the attack on the night of Aug. 19. The explosion had the force of an earthquake, said Ibrahim Akpinar, the governor of Agri, an eastern Turkish town about 25 kilometers (16 miles) from the blast. Authorities are investigating the extent of the damage, Bulent Ismenbey, a press spokesman at the Energy Ministry, said by telephone. The pipeline will remain shut for at least three days, he said. Iran supplied around 18% of Turkey's natural gas purchases last year, which totaled 13.1 million cubic meters, according to the Web site of Botas, the state pipeline operator. Akpinar said paramilitary police have launched an operation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which officials believe launched the attack, according to a report published in the Milliyet newspaper on Aug. 20. The PKK has waged an armed campaign against the Turkish military since 1984 in a bid to establish an ethnic homeland in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast. About 40,000 people, mainly Kurds, have died in the fighting. (Bloomberg)