Militant Kurds launch attacks across Turkey

Two women opened fire yesterday at the heavily protected US consulate in Istanbul, while assailants exploded a car bomb at a police station then fired on police inspecting the scene.

In the south-east of the country a roadside bomb killed four police, and Kurdish rebels attacked a helicopter, killing a conscript.

There has been a recent sharp spike in violence between Turkey’s security forces and rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, as Turkey has attacked PKK targets in Iraq in tandem with airstrikes against IS militants in Syria.

One of the consulate attackers was later shot and taken into custody in a nearby building and taken to hospital. The far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army-Front, or DHKP-C, identified her as 51-year-old Hatice Asik, and said she was a member of the group, though it did not directly claim responsibility for the attack. The DHKP-C and the PKK both have Marxist origins and have co-operated in the past, though there was no immediate indication of PKK involvement in this attack.

The second woman is still being hunted. There were no other casualties.

Hours earlier, an overnight bomb attack at a police station in Istanbul injured three policemen and seven civilians and caused a fire that collapsed part of the three-storey building.

The suspected bomber was killed in the explosion, said the Istanbul governor’s office. Unknown assailants later fired on police inspecting the scene of the explosion, sparking another gunfight with police that killed a member of the inspection team and two assailants. There was no immediate responsibility claim for that attack. Turkey last month carried out a major security sweep, detaining some 1,300 people suspected of links to banned organisations, including the PKK, the DHKP-C and extremists of IS.

Turkey has recently started taking a more active role against IS militants. Last month it conducted aerial strikes against IS positions in Syria and agreed to let the US-led coalition use its bases for its fight against IS. On Sunday, the US military announced that a detachment of six F-16 fighter jets and some 300 personnel have arrived at Turkey’s southern Incirlik Air Base.

In 2008, an attack blamed on al-Qaeda-affiliated militants outside the US consulate in Istanbul left three assailants and three policemen dead.


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