National Security

U.S. Consulate in Turkey Targeted by Gun Attack

U.S. consulate in Istanbul
U.S. consulate in Istanbul

Two women shot at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday, just weeks after the country opened its air bases to U.S. military forces launching air attacks against the Islamic State.

Reuters reported that police bearing automatic rifles have blocked off the streets surrounding the consulate in the wake of the gun attack.

According to local resident Ahmet Akcay, who witnessed the gunfire, one of the women aimed at security officials and consulate officers, firing four or five rounds despite police warnings to drop her weapons.

"Police were shouting ‘drop your bag, drop your bag.’ And the woman was saying: ‘I will not surrender,’" Akcay said. "The police warned her again: ‘Drop your bag or we will have to shoot you,’ and the woman said: ‘Shoot.’"

According to the governor’s office in Istanbul, one of the women has since been captured. Turkey’s Dogan news agency reported that the woman had previously been jailed for being a suspected member of the anti-American Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army-Front, which both the U.S. and Turkey list as a terrorist organization.

In the wake of the attack, a consulate official explained, "We are working with Turkish authorities to investigate the incident. The Consulate General remains closed to the public until further notice."

Around the same time, a separate attack using explosives was carried out at a police station in a different area of Istanbul, injuring three police officers and seven civilians. One attacker perished in the explosion, while two others along with a police officer were later killed in a gunfire exchange.

No less than eight individuals have been killed recently in separate attacks on Turkish security forces.

At the end of July, Turkey opened its southern Incirlik air base to U.S. warplanes waging air attacks against the Islamic State. Turkey and the United States have crafted a plan to create an IS-free "safe zone" along a stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.