A suicide bomber attacked a U.S. embassy building in Ankara, Turkey, this morning. The unidentified bomber’s attack killed two people and unleashed a huge blast that sent debris flying into the Turkish streets.
Here’s what you should know about this latest U.S. embassy attack.
1. No Americans Were Killed
No Americans were killed in the bombing. However, a Turkish security guard and embassy staff member have been pronounced dead. Turkish entrepreneur and politician Aladdin Yuksel also confirmed to Al Jazeera that a woman was harmed in the blast. Video footage from ABC News can be viewed above.
2. The Bomber Has Ties to a Far-Left Terrorist Group
Turkish Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin spoke after the bombing took place. He confirmed that the suicide bomber was 41-years-old and that he/she has ties to a far-left terrorist group. It was later revealed by Business Insider that Interior Minister Muammer Guler the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), a radical Marxist-Leninist group that has operated in Turkey since 1994.
3. The Bomb Went Off Inside the Embassy
The bombing is still under investigation. So far, the information put out revolves around the apparent age and terrorist group affiliation of the bomber. Info related to the people who are dead and injured, and the damage that was done to the Embassy building itself has been released. Ankara governor Alaaddin Yukse spoke to the press and said the attacker was located inside U.S. property when the explosives went off. Victoria Nuland, a US state department spokesperson, spoke about the ongoing investigation:
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.
Afterwards, a tweet revealed the name and face of the suicide bomber:
Here is the picture of the Ankara American Embassy’s suicide bomber… Ecevit Sanlı, 41, had been jailed in 1997 twitter.com/MuSaKesLeR/sta…
— MUSA KESLER (@MuSaKesLeR) February 1, 2013
4. The Embassy Building Wasn’t Heavily Damaged
Reuters reported that the bombing sent masonry spewing out of the side entrance of the embassy building. The bomb itself is said to have exploded near a security checkpoint at the main entrance of the embassy’s visa checkpoint.
5. A U.S. Department Spokeswoman and U.S. Ambassador Made Statements
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland had this to say about the blast:
We can confirm a terrorist blast at a checkpoint on the perimeter of our embassy compound in Ankara, Turkey, at 1:13 p.m. local time. 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. We will share more information as it becomes available.
U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone spoke on the bombing as well:
We are very sad of course that we lost one of our Turkish guards at the gate.
6. Witness Accounts of the Bombing Were Detailed
Travel agent Kamiyar Marnos, who was 100 miles away from the blast, spoke to Al Jazeera about the bombing’s impact:
It was a huge explosion. I was sitting in my shop when it happened. I saw what looked like a body part on the ground.
7. U.S. Military Officials Were Busy Moving Missiles During the Attack
CNN reported that U.S. military members were busy transporting Patriot missile defense batteries to a Turkish military base at the time of the bombing attack.
8. The Attack Took Place on the Day of Hilary Clinton’s Exit
This suicide bombing attack took place on the day that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was set to leave her post. Senator John Kerry is set to fill her position. Hillary Clinton is leaving her post due to the negative reaction thrown in her direction over her prior handling of the Benghazi, Libya attack. This attack resulted in the death of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
9. Major Suicide Bombing Attacks Occurred in Turkey Before
Reuters mentioned that a bombing attack took place in Turkey around November 2003. Car bombs exploded and heavily damaged two synagogues, killing 30 people and injuring 146 others. A suicide bombing also took place in August of 2012 in Yemen, where at least 45 people were killed. This attack was was blamed on al-Qaeda. Another suicide bombing happened in 2010 in Istanbul, where 32 people were wounded on an attack on a tourist center. Suicide bombings also took place in 1983, one in Beirut and Kuwait.
10. U.S. Marines Secured the Embassy Building in Their Boxers
A picture from the blast scene in Ankara… American soldiers in boxer shortsare on guard at the embassy’s roof.. twitter.com/MuSaKesLeR/sta…
— MUSA KESLER (@MuSaKesLeR) February 1, 2013
Turkish reporter Musa Kesler tweeted a photo of U.S. Marines guarding the roof of the U.S. Embassy building in their boxer shorts. These Marines reportedly work in varying shifts, which means they may have been quickly called back from their Marine housing station after the attack.