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Suspected Suicide Bombing Kills Two at US Embassy in Turkey

Bomber donates device inside security checkpoint at entrance, killing himself and at least one other person, say officials

By Agencies in Ankara

February 01, 2013 "
The Guardian" -- A suspected suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at the entrance of the US embassy in Ankara, killing himself and one other person, officials said.

An Associated Press reporter saw a body in the street in front of an embassy side entrance. The bomb appeared to have exploded inside the security checkpoint at the entrance to the embassy.

The US ambassador, Francis Ricciardone, told reporters that a guard at the gate was killed and a Turkish citizen wounded.

A Reuters witness saw one wounded person being lifted into an ambulance as police cordoned off the area following the explosion, which sent smoke and debris flying into the street.

Television footage showed a door blown out and masonry from the wall around it scattered in front of the entrance, although there did not appear to be any more significant structural damage.

"It was a huge explosion. I was sitting in my shop when it happened. I saw what looked like a body part on the ground," said travel agent Kamiyar Barnos, whose shop window was shattered about 100 metres from the blast.

Islamist radicals, far-left groups, far-right groups and Kurdish separatist militants have all carried out attacks in Turkey in the past.

The embassy building is heavily protected. It is near an area where several other embassies, including those of Germany and France, are located. Police sealed off the area and journalists were being kept away. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The main domestic security threat comes from the separatist Kurdistan Workers party (PKK), deemed a terrorist group by the US, the EU and Turkey, but the PKK has focused its campaign largely on domestic targets.

Turkey has led calls for international intervention in neighbouring Syria and is hosting hundreds of Nato soldiers from the US, Germany and the Netherlands who are operating a Patriot missile defence system along its border with Syria. The US Patriots are expected to become active in the coming days.

The most serious attacks of this kind in Turkey were in November 2003, when car bombs shattered two synagogues, killing 30 people and wounding 146. The authorities said the attack bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida.

Part of the HSBC bank headquarters was destroyed and the British consulate was damaged in two more explosions which killed a further 32 people a week later.

 

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