Two people were killed and one woman seriously injured in a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara on Friday, reports said.
A Turkish security guard of the embassy was the one who died along with the suicide bomber, while the injured Turkish woman, who was at the embassy for business, is hospitalized.
Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Güler, who visited the site of the attack, said that the security officer who lost his life was Mustafa Akarsu.
Ankara governor Alaaddin Yüksel told reporters that at around 1.10 pm, a suicide bomber had detonated explosives as he passed through an X-ray machine of the security checkpoint at the entrance of the section that handles visas.
Yüksel is coordinating rescue and security operations.
Ambulances and fire engines rushed to the scene after the explosion, which apparently caused no damage inside the embassy building. Police helicopters hovered over the embassy and its premises.
Following the blast, a part of Paris Avenue, where many of the foreign Embassies were located, has been closed for traffic and police cordoned off the area on fears of second possible attack.
Turkish news agency Anatolia reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who is currently on a visit to Serbia, called US Ambassador in Ankara Francis Ricciardone, and assured him that Turkish security forces would make every effort to unravel the details of the incident.
U.S. Embassy in Ankara said that "appropriate measures have been taken by the Turkish Police who are now investigating the incident."
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack against the heavily protected US embassy building. Security has been tightened in the neighboring German and French diplomatic missions.
Turkey and the United States have designated the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is seeking autonomy for Kurds in south-eastern Turkey since 1984, as a terrorist organization. The role of Al-Qaeda is also not ruled out in the attack.
The latest attack on a US diplomatic mission comes within five months of a deadly militant attack in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.
U.S. envoy to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other American officials were killed when the U.S. Consulate was invaded by heavily-armed militiamen at night on the eleventh anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
The State Department had ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Libya following the incident.
Incidentally, the Ankara explosion took place on the day Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was bidding farewell to the State Department.
The Benghazi incident had put Clinton in an embarrassing situation as she was questioned over the handling of the situation as well as the failure to gather intelligence ahead of the attack, which according to the Libyan President was planned for months. She was grilled at a recent Congressional hearing on the issue.
by RTT Staff Writer
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