ISTANBUL - TDN with wire dispatches
Gunmen opened fire on police in front of the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul Wednesday and three police officers and three attackers were killed in the shootout.
Two people, a policeman and a civilian, were lightly injured in the attack and were evacuated to a hospital, Istanbul chief prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin told reporters in front of the consulate. ``The way that the incident was carried out and the type of the attack indicate it was a terrorist attack,'' Engin said.
"Three policemen were martyred and three attackers were killed," Gov. Muammer Güler told reporters at the scene, adding that authorities were pressing to identify the attackers and any group to which they belonged.
"At about 11 a.m., at least one assailant opened fire on the Turkish police guardpost area near the main entrance to the consulate," a U.S. embassy spokeswoman told the Associated Press, speaking anonymously due to the sensitivity of the matter.
"We're cooperating with the police and taking the appropriate measures," she said.
Engin said the attack began when a car drove up to the consulate and three men aged between 25 and 30 exited and opened fire on police. The officers returned fire killing the three. A fourth person in the car escaped, he said. Güler said two of the attackers were Turks, NTV television reported.
Turkey and the United States condemned the attack for which no one has yet claimed responsibility.
"It is enough to say they are terrorists who carried out a dastardly and cowardly attack," U.S. Ambassador Ross Wilson told a news conference in Ankara.
"Our countries stand together in the fight against international terrorism. This was an attack on a diplomatic establishment here," he said.
Mutlu Güneş, a 13-year-old eyewitness, said he was on his way to a mosque when he spotted several men preparing guns and placing them inside a Ford Focus car, before driving a short distance to the modern consulate complex.
"The three of them got out of the car. One of them shot a policeman in the chest and I saw one terrorist killing himself after being shot by police. Then I hid under a car," Güneş told reporters.
"I curse strongly these kinds of terror attacks. Turkey will struggle to the end with those who organize these (attacks) and the mentality behind them," President Abdullah Gül said.