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Turkey arrests US embassy bombing suspects

Three arrested after suicide bomber attacked US embassy in Ankara, as leftist group claims responsibility.
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2013 18:38
Two suspects were arrested in Ankara, and one in Istanbul, authorities said [AFP]

Authorities in Turkey have detained three people in Istanbul and Ankara in connection with a suicide bomb attack on the US embassy in Ankara, the state TRT broadcaster reports.

Two of the men were arrested in Ankara, and one was taken into custody in Istanbul, state media reported on Saturday.

A Turkish leftist group, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C), said earlier on Saturday that it was responsible for the attack, which killed the bomber and a Turkish security guard.

The Revolutionary People's Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C) accused the US of using Turkey as its "slave", according to a statement posted on the internet.

'Murderer America'

In a statement on "The People's Cry" website, the DHKP-C, which is listed as terrorist organisation by the United States and Turkey, warned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he was a target.

"Murderer America! You will not run away from people's rage," the statement said, next to a picture of the bomber, named as Alisan Sanli, wearing a black beret and military-style clothes and with an explosives belt around his waist.

Erdogan, who said hours after the attack that the DHKP-C were responsible, met with his interior and foreign ministers as well as the head of the army and state security service in Istanbul on Saturday to discuss the bombing.

Muammer Guler, the country's interior minister, said the attacker had served time in jail on domestic terrorism charges in Turkey in the past, re-entered the country using false documents and was wanted by the authorities.

"[The attacker] was demanding to pass through the guest and staff gate of the US embassy using a fake ID when he detonated the explosives," the provincial governor's office in Ankara said in a statement.

It said he had also detonated a hand grenade.

'Act of terror'

The White House on Friday condemned the bombing as an "act of terror".

US officials said the DHKP-C were the main suspects in Friday's bombing but did not exclude other possibilities.

The DHKP-C, formed in 1978, called on Washington to remove Patriot missiles, due to go operational on Monday as part of a NATO defence system, from Turkish soil.

The missiles are being deployed alongside systems from Germany and the Netherlands to guard NATO-member Turkey against a spillover of the war in neighbouring Syria.

"Our action is for the independence of our country, which has become a new slave of America," the statement said.

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