'Terror attack' outside US embassy in Turkey kills two
Ankara: A suicide blast on Friday hit the US embassy here, killing at least two persons, BBC reported.
The suspected suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at the entrance of the US Embassy, in which the bomber and a security guard were killed and three others were wounded, a police official has confirmed.
The explosion occurred around 1.15 pm at the entrance used by embassy personnel and visitors, Xinhua reported citing CNNTurk.
Immediately after the incident happened, several ambulances were dispatched to the area. At least one woman who appeared to be seriously injured being carried into an ambulance.
However, according to Turkish broadcaster NTV, the explosion caused no damage inside the embassy while a video showed damage to a checkpoint. Three people were also wounded.
The US immediately condemned the attack and claimed the attack as a terror attack. US Officials also urged Americans to stay away from all US diplomatic offices throughout Turkey.
The blast outside the US embassy in Turkey on Friday that claimed two lives was a "terrorist attack", State Department said.
"We can confirm a terrorist blast at a check point on the perimeter of our embassy compound in Ankara, Turkey, at 1:13 PM local time," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, said.
The embassy building is heavily protected. It is near an area where several other embassies, including that of Germany and France, are located.
The suspected suicide bomber was passing through the X-ray machine when he blew himself which killed the security guard at the entrance on the embassy, reports said.
"At approximately 1315 on Feb 1, there was an explosion at the US embassy. Appropriate measures have been taken by the Turkish Police who are now investigating the incident," Xinhua quoted the embassy as saying in a written statement.
Though there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Interior Minister Muammer Guler said the suicide bomber was a member of an outlawed leftist group.
Though the minister did not reveal the name of the group, media reports said the 30-year-old attacker was a member of the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front or DHKP/C.
Various TV footage showed that the embassy door was blown out, with the wall scattered and body parts strewn around the scene.
The area is home to other diplomatic missions also.
Embassy staff were taken to secure rooms in the building, NTV said.
While the blast was very loud, the damage seemed to have been limited to the vicinity of the blast and no smoke was visible afterwards.
Ankara Governor Alaaddin Yuksel confirmed it was a suicide bombing, but declined to comment if authorities had received any intelligence before the attack.
The last major attack in Ankara was in 2007, when a lone suicide bomber killed nine people and injured 120.
Meanwhile, American Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone said Washington's close cooperation with Turkey will continue and Friday's bombing outside the US embassy here "will not affect Turkish-American relations".
"This attack will not affect Turkish-American relations and we (the US) still see you (Turkey) as a friend," Ricciardone was quoted as saying.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country will stand united against terrorist attacks.
"All these (attacks) are against the peace and welfare of our country. We will stand tall, we will stand strong and overcome these (attacks). We will never say enough, we will never say 'this is the end', we will get stronger as we grow," Erdogan was quoted as saying by the Hurriyet Daily News.
With IANS inputs