Four gunmen attack a police outpost in front of the US consulate in Istanbul's İstinye district on the European side of the city, killing three policemen and injuring two others. Three attackers die in the assault and one fled, says the prosecutor on the scene. No one inside the US consulate was injured in the assault, described by the authorities as a terrorist attack. All three of the assailants are Turkish citizens, says Interior Minister Beşir Atalay
ISTANBUL – TDN with wire dispatches
Three policemen and three gunmen were killed in an attack around 11:00 a.m. at a police point outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul's İstinye suburb yesterday. One police officer and the driver of a towing vehicle were injured, while no one inside the consulate was hurt.
The fourth gunman fled in a car, witnesses were reported as saying on several television channels. Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin confirmed the information.
“We have identitified the assailants,” said Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler, adding that the authorities were trying to verify the information and identify the attackers' connections. The three attackers that were killed were Turkish citizens, Güler said, adding that the police were continuing their efforts to nab the remaining assailant.
Interior Minister Beşir Atalay arrived in Istanbul, telling reporters the assailant on the run might be injured. “This is a terrorist attack,” said Engin. The four assailants were around 25 to 30 years old, and attacked using guns and rifles. Police have started an operation to arrest the assailant on the run. The police responded to the attack and a clash occurred. Security measures around U.S. diplomatic missions in Turkey have been increased following the attack.
Dead on the scene
One police officer and three gunmen died on the scene, while two other police officers who were transferred to İstinye State Hospital with severe injuries died at the hospital, Güler said. Two of the dead policemen were on duty as traffic police in the area and they intervened in the clash in order to lend support, he added.
Mehmet Önder Saçmalıoğlu, 21, one of the dead police officers, had started his duties at the Sarıyer Police Station as a traffic police officer just two weeks ago, the Anatolia news agency reported. There were three traffic policemen and a driver of a towing vehicle on the street, along with a police officer in the police cabin at the gate of the consulate, Güler said. The assailants fired at the police cabin first and then shot at the consulate gate as the glass of the cabin was bulletproof, said Ufuk Yavuz, one of the witnesses. A gray car stopped in front of a parking lot near the consulate and four assailants got out of the car bearing guns, according to camera recordings, the Doğan news agency reported. All of the assaulters were bearded. The first police response to the attack came from the traffic policeman who was in the towing vehicle on the street. He was the first one shot. The gunmen ran for about 50 meters before clashing with Turkish police. People who were around the building fled. Three assailants were shot, while the fourth one took the car and sped away, the agency reported.
From Turkish Daily News
POLICE POST: Security officials inspect the bodies of police officers lying in front of the U.S. Consulate in İstanbul. Three policemen and three gunmen were killed in an armed attack on the consulate in İstanbul, with one attacker fleeing the scene. Reuters photo