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US confirms terror attack in Turkey, issues warning

Published: Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 9:35 a.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 11:53 a.m. CST
Caption
(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
Medics carry an injured woman on a stretcher to an ambulance after a suspected suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at the entrance of the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Turkey, Friday Feb. 1, 2013. The bomb appeared to have exploded inside the security checkpoint at the entrance of the visa section of the embassy. A police official said at least two people are dead.

WASHINGTON – The State Department confirmed a terrorist attack Friday just outside the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and told Americans to stay away from U.S. diplomatic offices throughout Turkey.

Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the explosion occurred on the perimeter of the embassy at about 1:15 pm local time.

"We can confirm a terrorist blast at a check point on the perimeter of our embassy compound in Ankara," she said in a statement. "We are working closely with the Turkish national police to make a full assessment of the damage and the casualties, and to begin an investigation."

Officials in the Turkish capital said a suspected suicide bomber detonated an explosive in front of the embassy, killing himself and one other person at the entrance gate. U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardione identified the other death as an embassy guard.

No Americans were believed to be injured in the attack, officials said.

White House press secretary Jay Carney is calling the attack "an act of terror."

The president's spokesman says it is not yet known who is responsible, but a suicide bombing on the perimeter of an embassy is, by definition, a terrorist act.

Ricciardone said at least another Turkish citizen was wounded, and that more guards may have been injured.

"The compound is secure," he said.

The U.S. and Turkey "will continue to fight terrorism together," Ricciardone added. "From today's event it is clear that we both suffer from this terrible, terrible problem of today's world. We are determined after events like this even more to cooperate together until we defeat this problem together."

Americans were warned to avoid visiting the embassy or U.S. consulates in Istanbul and Adana until further notice, and were told to register on the State Department's website.

"The Department of State advises U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Turkey to be alert to the potential for violence, to avoid those areas where disturbances have occurred, and to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings," said a statement issued by the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul. "Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations."

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