International

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Associated Press

Shootout at U.S. Consulate in Istanbul Leaves Six Dead

July 09, 2008 04:49 PM
by Anne Szustek
Three police officers and three of four gunmen were killed in a battle after the attackers approached the diplomatic compound. Some reports link al-Qaida to the shootings.

30-Second Summary

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Four bearded gunmen, all age 25–30, got out of a gray car parked near the entrance of the consulate at around 11 a.m. local time Wednesday. They first shot at a police cabin near the consulate’s entrance, then at the compound’s guard post. A traffic cop was the first to fire against the gang and was the first to be gunned down, according to an account from bystander Ufuk Yavuz. Istanbul-based journalist Matt Mossman reported that eyewitnesses said one of the gunmen shot himself during the 15-odd minutes of fire.

Three of the assailants were shot down at the scene. Two other police officers shot during the battle later died from their wounds at Istanbul’s Istinye State Hospital, located down the hill from the diplomatic compound. A land, sea and air search for the fourth attacker is in progress.

Istanbul chief prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin called the shootings “a terrorist attack,” a sentiment seconded by American diplomatic staff. An unnamed Turkish police official said that al-Qaeda was suspected to be behind the attacks.

Consul General Sharon Weiner, the top U.S. diplomat in Turkey’s largest city, confirmed that all staff are “safe and accounted for.”

The building of the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul is enclosed in a walled compound in Istinye, a far-flung district of the city near the upper reaches of the Bosphorus. It opened in June 2003, prior to the bombings of synagogues and of the British Consulate in the city, contrary to the AP’s report.

Headline Links: U.S. Consulate in Istanbul under fire

Video: Gunfire outside of U.S. Consulate in Istanbul

Background: The dedication of the American Consulate in Istanbul

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