Several killed in wave of attacks across Turkey

Attacks comes at a time of a sharp spike in violence between Turkish security forces and rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. (AP)

Two women were shot at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul on Monday and at least eight people were killed in a wave of separate attacks on Turkish security forces, weeks after Ankara launched a crackdown on ISIS, Kurdish and far-left militants.

The NATO member has been in a heightened state of alert since starting its "synchronised war on terror" last month, including air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq. It has also rounded up hundreds of suspected militants at home.

Police armed with automatic rifles cordoned off streets around the U.S. consulate in the Sariyer district on the European side of Istanbul, following the gun attack there.

Ahmet Akcay, a local resident who witnessed the attack, told Reuters that one of the women fired four or five rounds, aiming at security officials and consulate officers.

"Police were shouting 'drop your bag, drop your bag'. And the woman was saying: 'I will not surrender'," Akcay said.

Terror group

The attack was claimed by a Turkish far-leftist group known as The Revolutionary People's Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C), according to Reuters news agency.

The group said in a statement on its website that the United States was an “enemy of the peoples of the Middle East”.

The Revolutionary People's Liberation Army-Front is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and Turkey.

It has claimed responsibility for similar attacks in the past, including a suicide bombing at the U.S. embassy in Ankara in 2013 which killed a Turkish security guard.
 

 A police car stands outside the destroyed police station in the Sultanbeyli district in Istanbul on August 10, 2015, after a suspected suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives at the police station (AFP)

A police car stands outside the destroyed police station in the Sultanbeyli district in Istanbul on August 10, 2015, after a suspected suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives at the police station (AFP)

Earlier, the attack targeting the police station in Istanbul's Sultanbeyli neighborhood and caused a fire that collapsed part of the three-story building, according to Anadolu news agency. The explosion also damaged neighboring buildings and around 20 cars parked nearby, the private Dogan news agency reported.

An official said the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was behind a suicide attack that resulted in clashes that left three militants and one top police official dead.

Increasing violence

On the other side of Istanbul, a vehicle laden with explosives was used in an attack on a police station, injuring three police officers and seven civilians, police said.

One of the attackers was killed during the bombing, while two others and a police officer died in a subsequent firefight, the Istanbul governor's office said. Broadcaster CNN Turk said the officer was a senior member of the bomb squad who had been sent to investigate the attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either of the attacks, but U.S. diplomatic missions and police stations have been targeted by far-left groups in Turkey in the past.

Turkish police officers run for cover during a gunfight near the site of an overnight explosion at a police station in Istanbul's Sultanbeyli neighborhood (AP)

Turkish police officers run for cover during a gunfight near the site of an overnight explosion at a police station in Istanbul's Sultanbeyli neighborhood (AP)

The attacks also come at a time when Turkey is taking a more active role against militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Last month it conducted aerial strikes against ISIS positions in Syria and agreed to let the U.S.-led coalition use its bases for its fight against ISIS.

The move followed a suicide bombing blamed on ISIS which killed 32 people and after militants fired at Turkish soldiers from across the border in Syria, killing one soldier.

Police cordoned off the area but people gathered outside the police station shouted slogans against the PKK, Hurriyet newspaper reported.

(With Reuters, AFP and the Associated Press)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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