Blast suspends transport of gas on Iran-Turkey pipeline

An explosion overnight suspended the transport of gas along a pipeline connecting Turkey and Iran

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An explosion overnight on Monday suspended the transport of gas along a pipeline connecting Turkey and Iran in the eastern Turkish province of Agri, Ankara’s energy minister said.

“The explosion caused a fire. But we managed to put it out quickly. The transportation of gas will resume when the pipeline is repaired,” Taner Yildiz said in a statement, according to state-run news agency Anatolia.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but Turkish media pointed the finger at the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK has fought a decades-long insurgency in southeastern Turkey, and is regarded as a terrorist organization by both Ankara and Washington.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday promised to press ahead with military operations against the PKK until the group disarmed.

The separatist group has claimed or been blamed for a series of attacks in recent weeks.

Gunmen shot dead a paramilitary police commander late on Monday in a predominantly Kurdish part of eastern Turkey. No one claimed responsibility for the assault, but suspicion fell on the PKK.

On Sunday, the PKK’s military wing claimed the killing of two Turkish soldiers in a car bombing in Diyarbakir province.

And last week, two Turkish policemen were shot dead in their beds in the southeast, killings claimed by the PKK.

The PKK has said a truce between the government and the militants that has largely held since 2013, while peace talks were ongoing, has been rendered meaningless by Turkey’s air strikes against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.