Panic and confusion swept over the Turkish-occupied area in the north of Cyprus on Tuesday, as false rumours and news reports of potential terrorist attacks made the rounds only days after a deadly bombing attack in Ankara left over 30 dead.
According to reports cited by the Cyprus News Agency, the false information related to a bomb in Famagusta and Trikomo, while a crew of workers for the Morphou ‘municipality’ spotted a mortar shell in a dumpster, which was destroyed by bomb technicians at around 2:30 pm.
On Monday, unfounded information had also surfaced with regard to an alleged bomb placed in Kioneli, a village near Nicosia.
The Famagusta bomb scare appears to have been caused by an unattended bag left in the parking lot of a supermarket.
‘Police’ authorities were notified and cleared the scene, with bomb technicians neutralising the perceived threat via a controlled blast, but the bag turned out to only contain clothes.
Shortly before noon, a similar incident came up, this time triggered by a box left at a super market in the Trikomo-Karpas road. Once more, the bomb squad employed a controlled explosion, only to find nothing suspicious.
Some Turkish Cypriot websites cited “confidential sources” saying that the British secret services warned local ‘authorities’ of impending bombing attacks. The same reports advised the public to keep away from the illegal airport at Tymbou operating in the north, adding that security had been strengthened at crossing points with the areas in the south.
However, in a statement on Tuesday afternoon, the ‘Interior ministry’ denied the Brits issued any warning and asked the public to ignore the reports.
Meanwhile, a man named Murat Gulgun wrote on his social-network page that “information was received” that two cars with Greek Cypriot license plates, and another with Syrian plates, had crossed into the occupied areas in order to carry out a bombing attack.
The post was removed shortly thereafter.