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Suicide Bomber Attacks U.S. Embassy In Turkey

Evie Liu |
February 1, 2013 | 3:53 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Several U.S. and Turkish staffers were injured by debris. (AFP/Getty Images)
Several U.S. and Turkish staffers were injured by debris. (AFP/Getty Images)


A Turkish leftist group claimed responsibility on Saturday for a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. embassy and accused Washington of using Turkey as its "slave," Reuters reported.

"Murderer America! You will not run away from people's rage," The Revolutionary People's Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C) said in a statement on "The People's Cry" website.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said soon after the attachk that the DHKP-C — a far-left anti-U.S. group that is listed as a terrorist organization by Washington D.C. was responsible.

A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-strapped vest near a visitor’s gate of the U.S. embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara on Friday, killing himself and a Turkish security guard. 

Another Turkish citizen was also wounded, according to U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardione.

The explosion happened at 1:15 p.m., blowing open the entrance to the embassy. The windows of nearby businesses were shattered by the blast, but the main building inside was not damaged.

DHKP-C strongly opposes any NATO or U.S. influence over foreign policy in Turkey. It was responsible for the assassination of two U.S. military contractors in the early 1990s and launched rockets at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul in 1992, according to the U.S. State Department. With the U.S. and Turkey cooperating over the Syrian conflict, such ties might have inspired the revival of this terrorist group founded in 1978.

The White House called the explosion an "act of terror" and accused DHKP-C of bieng the main suspects, but other possibilities were not excluded. A White House official said it was too early to determine who exactly was behind the attack, and the United States would conduct its own investigation. In years past, Islamist radicals, extreme left-wing groups, ultra-nationalists and Kurdish militants have all carried out attacks in Turkey.

The bombing reminded many of the similar attack Sept. 11, 2011, at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three American personnel were killed. The Libya tragedy has sparked political debate in Washington about the protection of diplomats serving in the volatile Middle East. This time, fortunately, no Americans were killed and only a few were injured by debris. "The level of security protection at our facility in Ankara ensured that there were not significantly more deaths and injuries than there could have been," U.S. State Dept. spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

The State Dept. has warned American citizens in Turkey to avoid United States diplomatic missions in the country “until further notice.” It also advised Americans traveling or residing in Turkey to be vigilant and avoid large gatherings.

Reach Staff Reporter Evie Liu here. Follow her here.



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