2 tons of gold, cash escape fire’s damage

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Around two tons of gold and $14 million in cash survived a fire at the cargo section of Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport, the Anatolia news agency reported Monday.

A government prosecutor said investigations were still under way to determine exact damages from the massive blaze, and that its cause was still unknown.

“At this time it is too early to say anything definite. We are thinking of every possibility, including sabotage,” prosecutor Omer Guner Sazak said.

A militant Kurdish group called the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons had claimed responsibility for last Wednesday’s fire, but the claim has not been verified by authorities, who say they are still investigating evidence from the site.

The cash was protected in safes belonging to Sistem Lojistik, a Turkish logistics firm, Anatolia reported.

“Besides the valuable protected goods, all of our cargo completely burned,” Sistem board member Huseyin Barlin was quoted as telling Anatolia.

The cash was reportedly placed in 10 sacks and was to be sent to the credit card company American Express, Anatolia said.

The two tons of gold was also protected in safes, the prosecutor said, though some 400 kilograms (250 pounds) of silver is believed to have melted in the fire, he said.

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