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ISTANBUL (AP) — Two assailants opened fire at the U.S. Consulate building in Istanbul on Monday, touching off a gunfight with police before fleeing the scene, Turkish media reports said.
The incident, which led most European news broadcasts along with the shooting in Ferguson, was connected with the bombing of a police station in Istanbul that occurred overnight.
The state-run Anadolu Agency said police later caught one person in connection with the attack, but provided no details. The private Dogan news agency said one of the assailants — a woman — was injured in the crossfire and was captured inside a nearby building where she hid. No one else was injured in the onslaught.
Hours earlier, an overnight bomb attack at a police station in Istanbul injured three policemen and seven civilians and caused a fire that collapsed part of the three-story building. Police said the assailants exploded a car bomb near the station. Unknown assailants later fired on police inspecting the scene of the explosion, sparking another gunfight with police that killed a member of the police inspection team and two assailants.
The attacks come at a time of a sharp spike in violence between Turkey’s security forces and rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. Turkey is also taking a more active role against Islamic State militants. Last month it conducted aerial strikes against IS positions in Syria, and agreed to let the U.S.-led coalition use its bases for its fight against IS. The move followed a suicide bombing blamed on IS which killed 32 people, and IS militants firing at Turkish soldiers from across the border in Syria, killing one soldier.
On Sunday, the U.S. military announced that a detachment of six F-16 fighter jets and some 300 personnel have arrived at Turkey’s southern Incirlik Air Base to join the fight against IS militants.
Turkey last month carried out a major security sweep, detaining some 1,300 people suspected of links to terror organizations, including the PKK, IS and the banned far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army-Front, or DHKP-C.
In 2013, a suicide bombing at the U.S. Embassy in the capital Ankara killed a Turkish security guard and injured one other person. The DHKP-C claimed responsibility for the attack.
The U.S. Embassy said U.S. officials were working with Turkish authorities to investigate the incident. The consulate would remain closed to the public until further notice, it said.
Police wearing flak jackets and holding machine guns blocked off streets leading to the consulate. The building however, was intact and its flag was flying.
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