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Maritime Security

Suspected PKK terrorist shot dead after hijacking Turkish Ferry Kartepe.

Turkish authorities have killed a lone hijacker believed to be a Kurdistan workers party (PKK) terrorist over the weekend.

The high-speed ferry Kartepe was seized shortly after it set sail from the port of Izmit on the Northwest coast of Turkey on Friday evening.

It was believed to be carrying 24 passengers and crew which were held hostage for around 12 hours.

The hijacker was said to be carrying a device with a button and cables, which bomb disposal experts analysed.  A governor of Kocaeli province was reported to have said that the bomb was in fact a fake.

The operation by joint security forces commenced around 0335 GMT on Saturday.  Prior to this the Police had been trying to convince the hijacker to surrender.

Coastguard craft and helicopters apparently pursued the ferry until it eventually ran out of fuel off the port of Siliviri.

Turkish Commandos in civilian clothes were said to climb aboard the ferry from rigid inflatable boats to await the go ahead for the attack.

The passengers of the ferry were said to have only realised they had been hijacked because they had seen it on the news in the passenger lounge.

The suspected terrorist was said to have taken mobile phones and passports from some passengers and crew, however there were some that managed to call local authorities and family members to raise the alarm.

Two passengers were said to have heard six gunshots from the Captain’s cabin.  It turned out that these were the shots that shot dead the hijacker.

The whole operation was over quickly and said to last only ten minutes.

All the passengers and crew were unhurt but some were taken to hospital for checks after their ordeal.

The hijacker was allegedly identified as Mensur Guzel, who is believed to be head of the PKK’S youth wing.  He had joined the rebels after escaping from the military in 2009.

The PKK has not claimed responsibility for the hijacking.  Turkey, USA and EU list the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

Despite the success of this raid the hijacking has drawn attention to the conflict with Kurdish rebels who have stepped up attacks on government forces in the country’s southeast this year.

The Turkish military has responded by an air and ground offensive against rebel hideouts in neighbouring Iraq.