Blast at US embassy in Turkey kills 2

INT

A suicide bomber attacked the American Embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Friday, detonating himself inside a security entrance to the compound in a blast that officials said killed a Turkish guard and wounded a visiting Turkish journalist. The Obama administration called the attack an act of terror and warned American citizens to temporarily avoid its diplomatic missions in Turkey.

It was at least the fifth assault on a US diplomatic property since the deadly attack on the US mission in Benghazi on Sept. 11, an event that escalated into a major political problem for the Obama administration and led to vastly tightened security at all US embassies and consulates over concern about attacks by Islamist militant extremists.

Interior Minister Muammer Guler said the Ankara bomber was a known member of an outlawed leftist radical group in Turkey, suggesting that the motive was not religious hostility towards the United States. But American officials said the motives and those responsible for the bombing in Ankara remained under investigation.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, "The attack itself is clearly an act of terror." Vice President Joseph R Biden Jr, who was attending a security summit meeting in Germany at the time, also said the bombing was "obviously as a terrorist attack on our embassy in Ankara."

Alaattin Yusel, governor of Ankara, told reporters the explosion took place at a security entrance inside the embassy grounds.

News photographs of the explosion site showed extensive damage to a squat one-storey building just inside the compound where visitors are checked by security guards and an X-ray machine.

Turkish news media said preliminary investigations by security officials said the bomber might have detonated a suicide belt prematurely as he was going through security controls. NTV, a private television broadcaster, said embassy security cameras had shown the assailant entering and panicking as he walked through an X-ray machine.

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