ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) – Keramettin Yeniay, who was wounded in the face by glass in the bombing of an Istanbul synagogue, was back in the hospital Friday – this time awaiting news of his brother-in-law, a victim of the latest terror attack in the city.

All told, bombings in this bustling Turkish metropolis over the past week have claimed more than 50 lives and wounded 750 people – Yeniay, two of his brothers and his brother-in-law among them.

Speaking with difficulty because of stitches in his cheek and neck, Yeniay said he was grateful to be alive. “It is the will of Allah,” the 29-year-old said. “Thank God we’re all alive.”

Yeniay and his two brothers, Adem and Arif, were at work last Saturday at their jobs making electric plugs and intercoms when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive-laden pickup truck outside the adjacent Neve Shalom synagogue.

“I was fixing a faulty plug on my desk near the window, then I walked away to get a screw,” said Yeniay. “Suddenly, our world was darkened with raining glass, wood and metal pieces.”

Yeniay managed to remove the aluminum sheets that fell on top of him, when he saw his brothers covered in blood. Both had woundeds to their faces from broken glass and Adem also suffered a broken arm. All three managed to climb down two flights of stairs and get out on their own.

“Our survival is a miracle. If I did not need that tiny screw at that moment, I would have definitely died,” Yeniay said. “I saw my desk the next day – it was torn into pieces.”

Yeniay said he thought an earthquake had struck until he was told at the hospital that it was a terrorist attack at the synagogue – one of two that were destroyed in near-simultaneous explosions that killed 23 people and the two bombers.

Yeniay’s wife, Zehra, rushed to the hospital when she learned her husband had been wounded.

Five days later, she was in the hospital again – this time awaiting word of her brother, Ahmet Sarikaya, who was recovering Friday from surgery to remove dozens of pieces of shrapnel and glass from his chest and legs.

“This made me forget everything else,” she said. “There’s nothing worse than grieving for a brother.”

Sarikaya had parked his car in front of the London-based HSBC bank and was walking toward a newsstand when a pickup truck loaded with explosives blew up in front of the building, sheering off its facade. A shower of human flesh, broken glass and twisted metal followed; an acrid yellow cloud covered the sky.

Sarikaya was thrown to the ground. His wife, Serpil, who had been walking in the opposite direction, toward a pharmacy, ran to him.

“He said his leather jacket with its wool lining protected him, and he was very sorry that his jacket and his car were torn apart,” she quoted her husband as saying. “I told him: ‘I will buy you a new car and a new jacket. I don’t know how, I don’t have money, but I will buy anything for you.”‘

A few minutes later, a pickup truck laden with explosives rammed into the main gate of the British consulate, killing Consul General Roger Short, in the historic Beyoglu district.

AP-ES-11-21-03 1632EST



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