11/12/2011, 00.00
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Istanbul ferry hijacker killed

20 passengers saved. The only hijacker deemed a Kurdish PKK "terrorist", had asked for fuel, food and beverages. Confused, contradictory, and generic reports. 5 terrorists originally reported in board.
Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Turkish security forces have freed 20 hostages and killed the hijacker who seized a ferry last night in Istanbul. The raid took place this morning at 5.35 (local time). According to the governor of the city, Avni Mutlu, the hijacker was a "terrorist" and wore a vest with wires and switch.

The official news reports are very simplistic and generic. Previously Binali Yildirim, Minister of Transport, had stated that there were five hijackers and that they were PKK terrorists, the Kurdish Workers' Party, an armed group that is classified as a terrorist by the international community.

The motive for the hijacking is not clear. The man who was killed was in in his thirties, he had only asked for fuel, food and beverages.

The ferry had left yesterday from the port of Izmit in the Marmara Sea. After the hijacking, at 5pm yesterday, the vessel was anchored near Silivri, off the coast of Istanbul. All the time the ferry was surrounded at a distance by the coast guards and helicopters until this morning’s raid.

According to official news reports the 20 passengers are all fine, but some agencies say that some were taken to hospital after being freed.

For decades, the PKK has been battling the Turkish government for autonomy of the Kurdish region. In recent weeks the Turkish air force launched airstrikes in the Kurdish area of Iraq, where fighters often find refuge.

According to the agency Firat, the seized ferry was headed for the prison island of Imrali, where the head of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, is held having been sentenced to life imprisonment.

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