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Shots fired at US embassy in Ankara, no casualties, two detained

By Agencies - Aug 20,2018 - Last updated at Aug 20,2018

ANKARA — Turkish authorities detained two men suspected of shooting at the US embassy in the capital Ankara on Monday, in an attack that coincides with increased tensions between the two NATO allies over the trial of a US pastor in Turkey, according to Reuters.

Nobody was hurt in the attack, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman condemned as an attempt "to create chaos". 

The Turkish foreign ministry said it had increased security for the embassy and other US missions and employees in Turkey.

The assailants fired six bullets at an embassy security gate from a passing white vehicle around 5:30am local time (0230 GMT), three bullets hitting an iron door and a window, the Ankara governor's office said.

Three bullets hit the iron gate and exterior wall, Agence France-Presse reported 

It issued another statement on Monday evening saying two men in their late 30s had been detained and a vehicle and pistol seized and that the men had confessed to the shooting.

It said both suspects had criminal records and their links were being investigated.

The embassy is closed this week for a public holiday to mark the Islamic Eid Al Adha.

"We can confirm a security incident took place at the US embassy early this morning. We have no reports of any injuries and we are investigating the details," said David Gainer, the embassy spokesman. "We thank the Turkish national police for their rapid response."

Video footage from broadcaster Haberturk showed police teams inspecting one of the entrances to the embassy and apparent damage caused by a gunshot could be seen in one window. It said empty cartridges were found at the scene.

"This is a clear attempt to create chaos," Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter. "Turkey is a safe country and all foreign missions are under the guarantee of the laws."

The US embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul have in the past been the targets of attacks by militants and have faced numerous security threats.

Relations between Turkey and the United States have become increasingly strained in recent weeks, with tit-for-tat tariffs imposed partly due to the trial of a US Christian pastor, Andrew Brunson.

 

Sanctions dispute rankles

 

US President Donald Trump has doubled the tariffs on aluminium and steel tariffs from Turkey, prompting Ankara to impose similar measures on several US products.

On Friday, Turkey threatened to respond in kind if Washington imposed further sanctions as a court rejected another appeal to free pastor Andrew Brunson.

The diplomatic stand-off has sent the Turkish currency into free fall against dollar although President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to lead the country out of the crisis.

In a statement ahead of the Muslim feast, Erdogan remained defiant over the US sanctions.

"The attack aimed at our economy has no difference from an attack aimed at our call to prayer or flag," he said.

Those who thought they could bring Turkey to its knees through the foreign currency exchange rate "will soon see they are mistaken", Erdogan added.

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