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Kurdish Rebels Claim Responsibility for Turkey Pipeline Blast


Kurdish rebels have claimed responsibility for an explosion that sparked a fire, disrupting oil flow on the Turkish section of a pipeline that is a major supplier of oil to the West.

The Kurdish news agency Firat Thursday said the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, claimed it sabotaged the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in eastern Turkey late Tuesday.

Turkish authorities had earlier ruled out a terrorist attack.

The fire forced the operator, British Petroleum, to close a section of the pipeline running through Erzincan province, which helped boost oil prices.

Turkish oil officials say it could be two weeks before the pipeline is operational again, as the fire continues to rage.

They say repairs cannot begin before the fire burns out all the oil left over in that section of the pipeline.

There have been no reports of casualties.

The pipeline stretches from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, through Georgia and to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. It carries an estimated 1.2 million barrels of oil a day and is the world's second longest oil pipeline after the Russian pipeline Druzhba.

The PKK has been listed as a terrorist organization by a number of countries, including Turkey, the United States and the European Union. The group has been fighting for autonomy in eastern Turkey for more than two decades.

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