Explosion closes Iran-Turkey gas pipeline

Firefighters bring blaze under control after blast shatters windows of buildings in nearby village.

ANKARA // An explosion has hit a pipeline carrying natural gas from Iran to Turkey, forcing the authorities to shut the conduit, officials and media reports said. The blast occurred overnight at a section of the pipeline near the eastern Turkish town of Dogubayazit, several kilometers from the Iranian border, a local official told AFP. The cause of the blast was not immediately known.

The authorities turned off the flow of gas and firefighters brought the blaze under control, the Anatolia news agency reported. The blast shattered the windows of buildings in a nearby village, it said and an investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the explosion. Earlier this month, militants of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, were blamed for a blast that hit a pipeline in southeastern Turkey carrying oil from Iraq.

The PKK has dramatically stepped up violence since its jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan, said through his lawyers in May that he was abandoning efforts to seek dialogue with Ankara.