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Suicide Bomber Kills 2 Outside U.S. Embassy in Turkey

Feb. 1, 2013 - 08:06AM   |  
By VICTOR KOTSEV   |   Comments
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ISTANBUL, Turkey — A suicide bomber attacked the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital of Ankara, killing one Turkish security guard along with the bomber, Ankara Governor Aladdin Yuksel told Turkish news media.

A woman visiting the embassy on business was also injured, Yuksel said.

A detachment of U.S. Marine security guards is posted at the facility, but none was hurt in the attack, Capt. Gregory Wolf, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon, told Marine Corps Times on Friday morning. All Marines are accounted for and “continuing the mission,” Wolf said, though he declined to discuss specifics.

It was not immediately clear whether additional Marine forces will be sent to Turkey to shore up security at the embassy.

The explosion went off at the entrance used by the embassy personnel and their visitors, after a lone suicide bomber passed through the X-ray machine, CNNTurk reported.

Turkish media is reporting that there is no damage inside the embassy, and that all personnel have been moved to safe rooms inside the building.

Turkish television footage showed a door blown out and pieces of the wall around it scattered in front of the entrance.

Turkish daily newspaper Sabah posted a shaky video that was taken at the scene shortly before the area was closed off, showing Turkish police officials angrily asking that filming be stopped. Police said they suspected a second bomb, which is why they blocked off the area.

According to Turkish media, the suicide bomber was a middle-aged man of non-identified nationality.

Vatan newspaper, whose reporter witnessed the explosion, said it was severe and damaged the surrounding buildings and cars nearby.

U.S. Ambassador in Ankara Francis Ricciardone said there is as yet no clear information concerning the incident. The ambassador, who was speaking to reporters outside the building, said this incident will not harm Turkish-U.S. relations and extended his condolences to the families of those killed in the explosion. Turkish and U.S. officials will work together to shed light on the incident, Ricciardone added.

“The U.S. Embassy would like to thank the Turkish Government, the media and members of the public for their expressions of solidarity and outrage over the incident,” an embassy statement said, adding that more information will be made public when available

Turkey, a member of NATO, has come under attack from a number of groups operating on its territory including Kurdish separatists, leftists and Islamist militants, with the last major attack in Ankara in 2007 blamed on a solo suicide bomber: It killed nine people and injured 120.

Aaron Stein, an analyst at the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies at King’s College in London, said: “This could be a lone wolf, it could be linked to groups in Syria, it could be al-Qaida. My initial reaction is that this was similar to the 2003 attacks in Istanbul (against British targets, which killed 58), which were linked to al-Qaida.”

There has been no claim of responsibility.


Victor Kotsev wrote this story for USA Today. Yasemin Ergin and Andrew deGrandpre contributed.

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