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Istanbul airport fire blocks air traffic

The fire caused panic at the airport, and authorities were trying to evacuate thousands of people from the nearby terminals.

india Updated: May 24, 2006 19:44 IST

A huge fire engulfed the cargo section of Istanbul's International Ataturk airport on Wednesday and blocked air traffic, media reports said.

Black smoke billowed some 30 metres high into the air, television footage showed.

The fire caused panic at the airport, and authorities were trying to evacuate thousands of people from the nearby terminals.

The cause of the fire was not known, and it was not clear whether it was terrorism related.

Firefighters were trying to extinguish the blaze as planes doused water from above.

Private NTV television said some cargo workers may have been trapped inside the blazing two-story cargo building, which was used to store international cargo arriving in Istanbul.

Private Sky-Turk television reported occasional explosions at the building, and said chemicals may have caused the fire.

The building was located close to a hangar housing military aircraft.

First Published: May 24, 2006 18:45 IST