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Shoppers Flee Turkish Mall After Bombings

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From Associated Press

Two bombs exploded in an Istanbul shopping area, slightly injuring one woman and causing panic among shoppers, Turkish media reported Sunday.

Hundreds of people ran out of a mall after the first explosion at a stand selling alcohol, according to private NTV television and the Anatolia news agency. The second bomb went off under a tree near the Carrefour mall in the Kadikoy district, on the Asian side of the city.

Police said there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but suspicion fell on radical Islamic groups because an alcohol stand was targeted, the reports said.

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The consumption of alcohol is forbidden by Islam, and the current holy month of Ramadan requires dawn-to-dusk abstinence from food, drink, sex and smoking as an act of sacrifice.

Although most Turks are Muslims, the nation is officially secular, which gives rise to tension.

Kurdish and leftist underground groups have also been blamed in the past for terrorism in Istanbul.

In another incident, five unidentified radical Muslims on Sunday beat a doctor who was smoking and not fasting in the quake-stricken western town of Adapazari, accusing him of being “shameless,” the Anatolia news agency reported.

The doctor had been sent from Ankara to help victims from the August quake.

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