'It Felt Like an Earthquake'

On an unseasonably warm, sunny November morning, Tekin Inci was organizing the menu for the evening Ramadan Iftar dinner at his restaurant. Yavuz Karaosmanoglu, a dry cleaner, was handing newly pressed jackets over the counter to a customer. Ugur Aksu was bent over paperwork at his second-floor desk in his tire shop.

At 10:55 a.m. Thursday, their ordinary, workaday street in Istanbul’s upscale Levent commercial center erupted in shattered glass, severed body parts, screaming wounded and charred automobiles when a vehicle exploded in front of a 20-story British bank building on the next block. “A huge ball of fire burst into the restaurant,” said Inci, standing next to his cashier, whose face was streaked with streams of darkened blood. “I ran outside and saw a head split open, lying on the street. I saw people with eyes bleeding, knees bleeding, faces bleeding beyond recognition. Cars were burning. People were screaming.” Full Story

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