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Turkey says tests confirm leftist group bombed U.S. embassy

Published: Updated:

A member of a Turkish leftist group that accuses Washington of using Turkey as its “slave” carried out a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. embassy, the Ankara governor’s office cited DNA tests as showing on Saturday.

Ecevit Sanli, a member of the leftist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C), blew himself up in a perimeter gatehouse on Friday as he tried to enter the embassy, also killing a Turkish security guard.

The DHKP-C, virulently anti-American and listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and Turkey, claimed responsibility in a statement on the internet in which it said Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was a U.S. “puppet.”

“Murderer America! You will not run away from people’s rage,” the statement on “The People’s Cry” website said, next to a picture of Sanli wearing a black beret and military-style clothes and with an explosives belt around his waist.

On Saturday, authorities in Turkey detained three people in Istanbul and Ankara in connection with Friday’s attack on the U.S. embassy, state broadcaster TRT said.

Meanwhile, Washington and NATO have condemned an attack by the suicide bomber that killed one Turkish security guard and wounding three other people.

The bombing at the entrance to the highly-fortified embassy in an upmarket area of the capital on Friday was the latest in a series of attacks on missions in the Muslim world, highlighting the vulnerability of the country’s 70,000 diplomats.

The White House strongly condemned the bombing, saying it was “clearly an act of terror” while saying it did not know yet who was responsible.

Previously, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the bomber was a member of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP-C), a radical left-wing group blamed for several attacks since the late 1970s including suicide bombings and attacks on prominent figures.

“It is definitely DHKP-C,” Erdogan told the Haber-Turk television network, but he declined to provide further details before DNA test results were available.

Local media reported that the bomber was a DHKP-C member who had been jailed after a 1997 attack at a military compound in Istanbul.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen “strongly condemned” the “outrageous attack on the diplomatic premises of one ally, on the territory of another ally.”