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Leftist militants claim embassy bombing

An outlawed far-left group that accuses the Turkish government of doing Washington’s bidding in Syria and elsewhere claimed responsibility Saturday for the suicide attack on the U.S. Embassy in Ankara on Friday.

The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front made the claim in a statement posted on a website linked to the group, according to news accounts.

The group, known by its Turkish initials DHKP-C, said the bombing was in retaliation for U.S. policy in the Middle East, according to Turkish public broadcaster TRT.

The United States and Turkey are close allies and fellow members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Some Turkish leftists allege that U.S. pressure is behind Turkey’s robust support for the uprising in neighboring Syria against the government of President Bashar Assad. Turkish authorities deny taking direction from Washington and call Assad a dictator who has lost credibility by turning his military loose on his own citizens.

The DHKP-C was cited as the main suspect within a few hours after a suicide bomber linked to the group blew himself up outside the U.S. Embassy. The blast killed a guard and critically injured a Turkish journalist who was entering the compound to visit the U.S. ambassador.

No U.S. personnel were seriously injured in the explosion, which heavily damaged an entrance to the mission but left the main embassy building unscathed, officials said. The State Department said strict security procedures had probably saved lives, preventing the attacker from getting inside the embassy grounds.

Turkish news agencies reported that authorities had arrested three people in connection with the bombing. Their potential roles were not known.

The attacker, dressed like a courier and carrying an envelope, was recorded by security cameras as he walked toward the embassy entrance shortly before detonating his explosives, according to video posted online by the Anadolu news agency.

Authorities identified the assailant as Ecevit Sanli, 40, a member of the DHKP-C who had served prison time for a 1997 flame-thrower attack on a military guest house in Istanbul, Turkish news media reported.

Los Angeles Times


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