Turkey: Three killed in attack on Bible publishing house

Victims - including one German - found with throats slit and arms and legs tied; Turkish Hizbullah suspected of involvement.

turkey bible attack 298. (photo credit: AP)
turkey bible attack 298.
(photo credit: AP)
Assailants killed three people Wednesday at a publishing house that distributed Bibles, in the latest attack apparently targeting Turkey's tiny Christian minority. The three victims were found with their throats slit and their hands and legs bound at the Zirve publishing house in Malatya, a city in eastern central Turkey, local Gov. Ibrahim Dasoz said. One was found still alive and was taken to the hospital, but later died, he said. Two of the victims were Turkish, and one was a German who had lived in Malatya since 2003, Dasoz said. The German ambassador to Turkey said he was shocked by the attack. "Even if the exact circumstances of the crime are not yet known, I most strongly condemn this brutal crime," Ambassador Eckart Cuntz said in a statement. A man who jumped from a window to escape was hospitalized with injuries, officials said. Dr. Murat Cem Miman told CNN-Turk television that the man was undergoing surgery for head trauma. Police detained four suspects, and believe the man who jumped from the window was one of the attackers, according to the Malatya governor, Dasoz. Malatya is known as a hotbed of nationalists, and is also the hometown of Mehmet Ali Agca, who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981. The Zirve publishing house has been the site of previous protests by nationalists accusing it of proselytizing in this 99-percent Muslim but secular country, Dogan news agency reported. Zirve's general manager told CNN-Turk that his employees had recently been threatened. "We know that they have been receiving some threats," Hamza Ozant said, but could not say who made the threats. The manner in which the victims were bound suggested the attack could have been the work of a local Islamic group, commentators said, and CNN-Turk television reported that police were investigating the possible involvement of Turkish Hizbullah - a Kurdish Islamic organization that aims to form a Muslim state in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast. Turkish Hizbullah - which has been known to "hog-tie" its victims while torturing them - takes its name from the better-known Lebanon-based Hizbullah, but has no formal links to it.