A bomb exploded at the US Embassy in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Friday, killing at least two and wounding several others, according to wire reports. Several witnesses and a police official speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity said that a suicide bomber was responsible for the attack.
According to witnesses, the attacker set off an explosive device inside the security checkpoint at a side entrance of the embassy, sending smoke and debris flying into the street. The embassy itself has reportedly suffered no damage.
One Turkish security guard and the attacker were killed, though it remains unclear how many were wounded. Several emergency vehicles were dispatched to the area, and an AP journalist saw at least one woman who appeared to be seriously hurt being carried to an ambulance.
Addressing reporters shortly after the blast, US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone said the attack came at 1:15 p.m. local time. He also expressed sadness at the guard's death and thank Turkish authorities for their prompt response, according to Reuters.
The embassy building is heavily guarded and located near several other embassies in the downtown diplomatic area, including those of Germany and France.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the British Consulate-General in Istanbul has called it a "suspected terrorist attack." Speaking on Turkish television, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said the attack was a suicide bombing and called for a global effort to combat "terrorist elements."
Islamist militants and Kurdish rebels are active in Turkey. The latter, who are fighting for autonomy in the Kurdish-dominated southeast, have dramatically increased attacks in Turkey over the last year, and tensions have been especially high since the murders of three Kurdish activists in Paris were discovered on January 10.
In 2003, Islamist militants with ties to al-Qaida set off suicide bombs at the British Consulate, a British bank and two synagogues in Istanbul, killing 58. Another attack attributed to Islamic militants killed six outside the US Consulate in Istanbul in 2008.