Suicide blast kills two outside US embassy in Turkey

London, Feb 1 (IANS) A suicide blast outside the US embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara Friday killed at least two people -- an American security guard and the bomber who was a member of an outlawed leftist group, media reports said.

Turkish broadcaster NTV said the explosion caused no damage inside the embassy while a video showed damage to a checkpoint. Three people were wounded.

The explosion occurred around 1.15 p.m. at the entrance used by embassy personnel and visitors, Xinhua reported citing CNNTurk.

Another report said it was the entrance to the visa section.

A security guard at the X-ray machine at the entrance was killed when the suspected suicide bomber was passing through the machine.

"At approximately 1315 on Feb 1, there was an explosion at the US embassy. Appropriate measures have been taken by the Turkish Police who are now investigating the incident," Xinhua quoted the embassy as saying in a written statement.

Interior Minister Muammer Guler said the suicide bomber was a member of an outlawed leftist group.

Though the minister did not reveal the name of the group, media reports said the 30-year-old attacker was a member of the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front or DHKP/C.

TV footage showed that the embassy door had been blown out, with the wall scattered and body parts strewn around the scene.

Dozens of ambulances and fire engines rushed to the scene after the explosion. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The area is home to other diplomatic missions also.

Embassy staff were taken to secure rooms in the building, NTV said.

While the blast was very loud, the damage seemed to have been limited to the vicinity of the blast and no smoke was visible afterwards.

Ankara Governor Alaaddin Yuksel confirmed it was a suicide bombing, but declined to comment if authorities had received any intelligence before the attack.

The last major attack in Ankara was in 2007, when a lone suicide bomber killed nine people and injured 120.

Meanwhile, American Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone said Washington's close cooperation with Turkey will continue and Friday's bombing outside the US embassy here "will not affect Turkish-American relations".

"This attack will not affect Turkish-American relations and we (the US) still see you (Turkey) as a friend," Ricciardone was quoted as saying.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country will stand united against terrorist attacks.

"All these (attacks) are against the peace and welfare of our country. We will stand tall, we will stand strong and overcome these (attacks). We will never say enough, we will never say 'this is the end', we will get stronger as we grow," Erdogan was quoted as saying by the Hurriyet Daily News.

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