An explosion destroyed a minibus ferrying tourists in a Turkish resort town on Saturday, killing five people and wounding 16, Turkish authorities reported.
The attack was the second this month on Turkey's popular Aegean coast this month, and appeared aimed at crippling the country's $15 billion-a-year tourist industry.
The fatalities in the sun-splashed town of Kusadasi included an Irish woman, Ireland's foreign minister announced. Six British citizens were among the wounded, five of whom were listed in serious condition, according to a spokeswoman for Britain's Foreign Office.
The state-run Anatolian News Agency reported that a female suicide bomber caused the blast by detonating an explosive she held in her lap. But the Associated Press quoted a Turkish deputy governor as saying the bomb was planted on the bus.
The blast reduced the white minibus to a carcass, its sides and top torn away. News photos showed passengers in beachwear struggling to lift themselves out of pools of their own blood on a main street as passersby scrambled to help.
On July 10, a bomb hidden in garbage exploded in Cesme, a crowded resort city that is also on the Aegean coast. Three foreigners were among 21 people wounded.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Saturday's explosion, but suspicion immediately fell on the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons separatist group, which asserted responsibility for the bombing in Cesme, and an attack April 30 in Kusadasi that killed a police officer.
Intelligence analysts believe that the organization is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the guerrilla force known by its Turkish initials PKK, which last year resumed a civil war in southeastern Turkey that killed more than 30,000 people in the late 1980s and 1990s. Turkish officials have blamed the resurgence in part on American reluctance to attack the guerrillas in a mountain refuge in northern Iraq.
The PKK, which the State Department has listed as a terrorist organization, used female suicide bombers twice in 1999, following the capture of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan. Underground leftist groups active in Turkey also have used suicide bombers, including a woman who devastated an Istanbul city bus last year shortly before President Bush arrived for a conference of the NATO alliance.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday's attack took place despite determined government countermeasures. "It is not possible to stop it 100 percent, no matter how strict the security measures you take," Erdogan said. "We call on all actors of terrorism to assume a humane attitude."
The British government acknowledged that the attacks appeared to be aimed at intimidating tourists and posted a fresh warning on its Foreign Office Web site advising travelers that it considered Turkey a "high threat for terrorism."
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, meanwhile, issued a statement condemning "this repugnant act" and declaring that "as always, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Turkey, in sympathy and in our refusal to allow terrorists to destroy our values and our liberty."
The government of Ireland, which identified the Irish victim as a student, said it was reviewing its travel advice for the country. "I have instructed our ambassador in Turkey to request the Turkish authorities to review security arrangements in tourist resorts in Turkey in the wake of this attack to ensure the safety of Irish and other holidaymakers," Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said in a statement.