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The World

February 2, 2013

Suicide bomber attacks US Embassy in Turkey


The bomb dislodged masonry from a front wall and blasted an entry door off its hinges, photos from the site show. Flying debris injured several embassy staffers, who were treated at the scene.

The embassy is on a heavily secured street in the center of the Turkish capital, close to the German and French embassies.

U.S. embassies generally have a much higher degree of protection than small American missions like the ill-fated installations in Benghazi. Buildings housing U.S. diplomats are typically set back from public thoroughfares; gaining access generally involves passing through several layers of security checkpoints and searches.

After the Ankara attack, U.S. authorities warned Americans in Turkey not to visit the embassy or U.S. consulates and to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.

Media reports in Turkey identified the attacker as Ecevit Sanli, a member of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front, which espouses an anti-U.S. and anti-capitalist agenda. The bomber’s motives remained unknown.

The far-left group — considered a terrorist organization by Turkey and the United States — has been implicated in attacks going back to the 1970s, authorities said, reportedly including several involving U.S. targets.

Sanli was imprisoned in 1997 for attacking a military guest house in Istanbul with a flame thrower, reported the website of Hurriyet Daily News, an English-language Turkish newspaper. He was released on probation in 2002, the newspaper reported.

Yesterday’s attack occurred at a moment of considerable tension in the region.

Turkey shares a more than 500-mile border with Syria, where a bloody, almost two-year rebellion is raging against President Bashar Assad. Turkey has called for Assad to step down and has lent considerable support to Syrian rebels. Some Turkish leftists have accused their government of bowing to U.S. pressure to help topple Assad.

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