Two guards killed in blast outside U.S. embassy in Ankara: TV

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Two security guards were killed in a blast outside the U.S. embassy in Ankara on Friday, local television reported, amid speculation it was a suicide attack.

The force of the explosion damaged nearby buildings in the Cankaya neighborhood where many other state institutions and embassies are also located.

NTV television reported that a person detonated a bomb at the security roadblock near the entrance to the embassy’s visa section, where dozens of people wait every day.

“It was a huge explosion. I was sitting in my shop when it happened. I saw what looked like a body part on the ground,” said travel agent Kamiyar Barnos whose shop window was shattered around 100 meters away from the blast.

Police have cordoned off the area but there has been no official comment on the blast outside the highly fortified complex.

NTV television said two security guards were killed and several people wounded.

U.S. embassy staff were not immediately reachable for comment.

Predominantly Muslim Turkey is a close U.S. ally and a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The blast comes barely a week after NATO declared that a battery of U.S.-made Patriot missiles went operational on Turkey's border with war-torn Syria on Saturday.

In addition to that, Islamist radicals, far-left groups, far-right groups and Kurdish separatist militants have all carried out attacks in Turkey in the past.

The main domestic security threat comes from the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), deemed a terrorist group by the United States, European Union and Turkey, but the PKK has focused its campaign largely on domestic targets.

In July 2008, three gunmen and three Turkish policemen were killed in an attack outside the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.

In November 2003, four suicide car-bomb attacks on two Istanbul synagogues, the British consulate and British bank HSBC killed 63 people, including Britain's consul general.

The bombings were claimed by an Al-Qaeda cell.

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