Turkish Jewish leader injured in Ankara bombing

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NEW YORK — In the latest terrorist incident against Jews worldwide, the leader of the Jewish community in Ankara, Turkey, has been slightly wounded in a car-bomb attack.

Yuda Yurum, who has spent time as a visiting professor at Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science and heads the chemistry department at Hacettepe University, was hurt when his car exploded as he entered it Wednesday morning.

He is recovering in a nearby hospital, having suffered minor injuries and singed hair.

A previously unheard of Islamic fundamentalist group, the Turkey Idealist Sharia Commandos' Army, has claimed responsibility for the bombing, according to the Anatolia news agency in Turkey. Turkish police have not detained any suspects.

An Israeli official who contacted Ankara's Jewish community said people "were terrorized" by the attack.

But Turkish Jewish leaders disagreed.

"We're quite upset about it, but such things happen all over the world. There is no sense of panic whatsoever," Hanri Yashova, vice president of the Turkish Jewish community, said.

About 200 Jews live in Ankara, a far smaller Jewish community than in Istanbul, where most of Turkey's estimated 23,000 Jews live.

The attack comes against a backdrop of threats Yurum received last year after an Islamic fundamentalist newspaper, Zaman, harshly criticized him for his role as a Jewish leader.

Yurum received increased police protection afterward, but later dropped the police aid.

The attack also occurred after a Turkish prosecutor sought the death penalty for a group convicted of attempting to kill Jak Kamhi, a major Turkish Jewish businessman.

The assailants reportedly belong to an Islamic fundamentalist organization, but it is unclear if the case is tied to the latest violence.

Islamic fundamentalists have been gaining political power in recent years, while the country has been hit by a rash of violence.

In 1986, Palestinian burst into the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul and murdered 22 Sabbath worshippers. In 1992, Ehud Saden, the security chief of the Israeli Embassy in Ankara, was killed in a car bombing.