'Terrorist Blast' Outside U.S. Embassy In Turkey; Two Deaths Reported
There was an explosion Friday at an entrance to the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey, and within hours American officials were calling it a "terrorist attack."
Reuters initially reported that at least one person was killed. The Associated Press was reporting early in the day that police said there were two deaths. The BBC noted was among the first to report it was likely the work of a suicide bomber. It added that:
"Dozens of ambulances and fire engines rushed to the scene after the explosion, in an area which is home to diplomatic missions. According to Turkish broadcaster NTV, the explosion caused no damage inside the embassy itself."
As is often the case in the early hours after incidents such as this, the news is likely to shift as more information becomes available. We'll keep an eye on developments.
Update at 2:45 p.m. ET. Suicide Bomber And Security Guard Killed, Embassy Says:
According to a statement from the State Department, "at approximately 1:15 pm local time a terrorist blast occurred at the U.S. Embassy compound perimeter in Ankara killing the suicide bomber and a security guard according to initial reports. A well respected Turkish journalist is among those wounded."
The statement, which calls it a "terrorist attack," also notes that Turkish media are saying that " 'preliminary information' obtained by police indicates that the bomber was likely connected to a domestic left-wing militant group."
Update at 9:35 a.m. ET. State Dept. Calls It A "Terrorist Blast":
"We can confirm a terrorist blast at a check point on the perimeter of our embassy compound in Ankara, Turkey, at 1:13 p.m. local time," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says in a statement emailed to reporters. "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."
Update at 7:45 a.m. ET. Latest Reports:
Reuters now says that the local governor has told reporters that two people were killed by what is thought to have been a suicide bomber. From Instanbul, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports that authorities say at least one person, a Turkish member of the embassy's staff, was killed and that some local media are saying the bomb may have been either left at the scene or thrown toward the site.
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