Early Friday afternoon at 1:15 pm local time in Turkey, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara. He killed himself and took one to two other people with him. At least one other person was wounded.
Here’s what we know so far:
*Turkish media is reporting it was a middle-aged man, but his nationality is unknown.
*No one has yet claimed responsibility, but both Islamists and Kurdish separatists are suspected. Experts are saying it could have been a “lone wolf,” it could be al-Qaeda, it could even be Hezbollah seeking revenge for the recent Israeli attacks inside Syria. It’s simply too early to tell.
*The first person to die was the bomber. The second person dead was a guard at the embassy, as confirmed by U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardione.
*There are unconfirmed reports of a third person killed. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul that the final death toll was not known.
*The ambassador was not harmed in any way.
*The explosion happened just inside a side entrance to the embassy at a security checkpoint. That entrance is usually used by embassy personnel and their guests, USA Today reported.
*A reporter from the Turkish newspaper Vatan witnessed the explosion, and said that surrounding buildings and cars were damaged.
Here’s the full statement from the Embassy in Ankara:
"At approximately 13:15 on February 1, there was an explosion at the U.S. Embassy. Appropriate measures have been taken by the Turkish National Police who are now investigating the incident.
The U.S. Embassy would like to thank the Turkish Government, the media, and members of the public for their expressions of solidarity and outrage over the incident.
More information will be made public when available."
Here’s the statement from U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland confirming the attack:
"We can confirm a terrorist blast at a check point on the perimeter of our embassy compound in Ankara, Turkey, at 1:15 p.m. local time, or 6:15 a.m. EST.
We are working closely with the Turkish national police to make a full assessment of the damage and the casualties, and to begin an investigation."
Here’s the statement from Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, as translated by the Hurriyet Daily News:
: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. The struggle against terrorism should be fought all together all around the world."
Here’s the statement from Turkish Foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu:
"It is quite saddening that such an attack happened in our country. All our security officials have always been extremely sensitive about the protection of foreign representatives in Turkey and we will continue to be so.
I am offering my condolences to the relatives of those who lost their lives, and my best wishes to everyone at the American Embassy and the foreign ministry. Our whole security apparatus is working full force on finding the ones responsible for this attack, and we are hoping to clarify the matter shortly."
The U.N. has not yet commented.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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