Knowing they are no match for the US military, jihadists resort to hitting Embassies full of civilians.
ISTANBUL, Turkey — Armed men opened fire Wednesday on Turkish police guarding the front entrance to the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, killing three policemen in what Turkish and U.S. officials called a terrorist attack. Three assailants were also reported killed.
The U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Ross Wilson, and Turkey’s foreign ministry said security around all U.S. diplomatic missions in Turkey was immediately increased after the attack, which began about 11 a.m. on the high-walled compound in the Istinye district.
All U.S. consulate staff were safe and accounted for, Wilson said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Interior Minister Besir Atalay said police would not reveal the identities of the slain attackers or their possible affiliations for the sake of the investigation.
Footage from a security camera at the site showed four armed and bearded men emerging from a gray car to kill a traffic policeman, then running toward the guardpost 50 yards away as other policemen fired back, the Dogan news agency reported.
The shootout caused panic and scattered people waiting in visa queue, Dogan said. U.S. security personnel then ducked inside the compound since they are not authorized to engage in armed action on Turkish soil.
Three of the attackers were killed in the shootout, U.S. and Turkish officials said. The video showed a fourth attacker jumping into the speeding gray vehicle and fleeing, Dogan reported.
Police are pursuing an unknown number of attackers who escaped.
Istanbul prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin said the attackers were armed with pistols and shotguns. Forensic teams later examined a shotgun on the ground.
Television footage showed four people lying on the ground at the foot of the consulate’s wall. The bodies were later removed.
“There is no doubt that this is a terrorist attack,” Istanbul Gov. Muammer Guler told reporters at the scene, calling the three slain policemen martyrs. Two other people, a policeman and a truck driver, were injured, he said.
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