Militant Group Attacks U.S. Consulate in Istanbul as Violence in Turkey Continues to Escalate

Turkish special forces during clashes with assailants in Istanbul on Monday. (Credit: Ozan Kose/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)
Turkish special forces during clashes with assailants in Istanbul on Monday. (Credit: Ozan Kose/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

Attackers opened fire outside the American Consulate here Monday morning, setting off a brief gun battle with the police, as violence in Turkey continued to escalate about two weeks after the United States agreed to cooperate more closely with the government against the Islamic State.

No Americans or Turkish police officers were wounded in the attack, after which the two assailants fled. Turkish special forces later caught an injured woman at a house in the Sariyer district of Istanbul who was suspected of having taken part in the attack, according to the semiofficial Anadolu news agency.

The suspect is believed to be a member of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, an anti-American group that has been banned, Anadolu reported. The consulate said in a statement that it was working with the Turkish authorities to investigate the attack, and that it would be closed to the public until further notice.

The attack on the consulate was one of several violent episodes across the country on Monday, which some attributed to a rise in clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants in the southeast.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack at the consulate, which came hours after a bomb attack at an Istanbul police station left one officer dead and at least 10 people wounded. Two people who were believed to have been involved in the bombing were killed in a shootout, according to reports in the Turkish news media.

Turkey, a member of NATO, recently began taking a more active role in the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and it has granted American warplanes access to its air bases, to help strike Islamic State positions in Syria and Iraq.

The attack on the consulate on Monday came a day after the United States military said it had sent six fighter jets to the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey.

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SOURCE: TIM ARANGO
The New York Times

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