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Sunday, February 3, 2013

TURKEY: Turkish PM confirms U.S. embassy attacker member of outlawed leftist group


ANKARA, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- The suicide bomber who killed at least one person and wounded another on Friday in an attack on the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital of Ankara is a member of an outlawed leftist group, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
"The suicide bomber exploded the bomb right after crossing (the personnel entry) and died in the explosion. A birth mark on his head proves (his identity), but DNA tests will be carried out to make sure. It is clear that he is a member of DHKP/C. He has perpetrated such attacks before," Erdogan said during a TV interview on private broadcaster Haberturk.
The Turkish prime minister's statement confirmed reports claiming the attacker was a 30-year-old member of the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C). The suspect, identified as Ecevit Sanli, has previously spent time in prison, according to reports.
He also said he had called U.S. Ambassador Francis Riccardone to express his condolences, and wished a speedy recovery to journalist Didem Tuncay, who was heavily injured in the attack.
During his speech given in the Turkish largest city of Istanbul after the suicide bombing, Erdogan said that Turkey would 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 said.
The struggle against terrorism should be fought all together all around the world, Erdogan said.
In his speech, the Turkish prime minister said the suicide attacker blew himself up in the blast, with the number of deaths reported at one or two, but the final death toll was not certain yet.
The explosion occurred at the entrance used by the embassy personnel and visitors, CNNTurk reported, saying that a security guard at the X-ray machine at the entrance was killed when a suspected suicide bomber was passing through the machine.
"At approximately 13:15 on Feb. 1, there was an explosion at the U.S. Embassy. Appropriate measures have been taken by the Turkish Police who are now investigating the incident," U.S. Embassy in Ankara confirmed in a written statement.
TV footage showed that the embassy door had been blown out, with the wall around scattered and body parts strewn around the scene. Dozens of ambulances and fire engines have rushed to the scene, also home to other diplomatic missions.
Ankara Governor Alaaddin Yuksel told reporters "It was a suicide bombing, and the blast occurred inside the U.S. Embassy building," adding that the gate is the visa section of the embassy compound.
One of the killed was an U.S. security guard and the other was the suicide bomber, Yuksel confirmed.
Turkish police stepped up security measures around the embassy and cordoned off the area for fear of a second possible attack. Police helicopters were also screening the area over the embassy building.



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