UPDATE/ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey's Interior Minister Muammer Guler says a suicide bomber who detonated an explosive in front of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara is most likely connected to a domestic left-wing militant organization.
A police official told the Associated Press that the bomber is most likely a suspected member of the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front.
He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the press.
The group is designated a terrorist organization by the United States but had been relatively quiet in recent years. At least 2 people are dead. Earlier reports indicated that at least 3 people were dead.
NBCNEWS.COM - A suicide bomber blew himself up at an entrance to the U.S. Embassy compound in Ankara on Friday, killing at least three people, Turkish police sources said.
The bomber got to the first X-ray machine leading to the visa section, the sources added.
U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardione told reporters that a guard at the gate was killed and a Turkish citizen was wounded in the blast, which happened at 1:15 p.m. local time (6:15 a.m. ET), The Associated Press reported.
An AP journalist saw a body in the street outside, but it was unclear whether this was the guard or someone else.
Turkish television footage showed smoke rising from the area and the heavily damaged door, which led to a side street.
A call to the embassy's main number at about 2:10 p.m. local time (7:10 a.m. ET) was not answered.
Speaking at about the same time, State Department spokesman Harry Edwards said that he did not yet have any details on the explosion and could not immediately confirm any attack.
A message on the embassy's Twitter account at about 7:40 a.m. ET confirmed that an explosion had taken place.
"Appropriate measures were taken," it added, saying it would provide more information when it became available.
A BBC journalist near the scene, Golnar Motevalli, said police had barricaded the road and she could see three or four ambulances and a fire truck.
She said the situation was "extremely chaotic" and that police sirens were "going off everywhere."
The Associated Press noted groups tied to al-Qaida had attacked U.S. and U.K. consulates in the past:
Homegrown Islamic militants tied to al-Qaida have carried out suicide bombings in Istanbul, killing 58, in 2003. The targets were the British consulate, a British bank and two synagogues.
In 2008, an attack blamed on al-Qaida-affiliated militants outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul left three assailants and three policemen dead.
In the November 2003 attack on the British consulate , a suspected Islamic militant rammed an explosive-laden pickup truck into the main gate, killing British Consul-General, Roger Short, and his assistant, Lisa Hallworth.
The State Department says on its website that 15 people who claimed they were associated with al-Qaida were arrested in July 2011 for gathering explosive materials in preparation for an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.
It adds that this and other incidents "show a willingness on the part of some terrorist groups to attack identifiably Western targets. The possibility of terrorist attacks, from both transnational and indigenous groups, remains high."
The State Department posting said the PKK Kurdish rebel group was the "most active terrorist organization in Turkey." It said the PKK had historically targeted Turkish government and military interests, but had recently "threatened increased violent activity in Turkey's urban areas, and there is credible information suggesting that it intends to continue targeting tourist areas as well."
Earlier this month, about 400 U.S. personnel arrived at Turkey's Incirlik Air Base to support the deployment of a NATO Patriot missile battery to help defend the country from possible incursions by Syria's forces during that country's ongoing civil war.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department is confirming that a terror attack occurred just outside the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
Officials in Ankara say a suspected suicide bomber detonated an explosive device killing himself and one other person, identified by U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardione as an embassy guard. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the explosion occurred on the perimeter of the embassy at about 1:15 pm local time. She says, "We can confirm a terrorist blast at a check point on the perimeter of our embassy compound in Ankara, Turkey, at 1:13 p.m. local time, or 6:15 a.m. EST."
Her statement also says, " 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."
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