Two women shot at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul on Monday and at least eight people were killed in a wave of separate attacks on Turkish security forces, weeks after Ankara launched a crackdown on Islamic State, Kurdish and far-left militants.
The NATO member has been in a heightened state of alert since starting its “synchronized war on terror” last month, including air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq. It has also rounded up hundreds of suspected militants at home.
Police armed with automatic rifles cordoned off streets around the U.S. consulate in the Sariyer district on the European side of Istanbul, following the gun attack there.
Ahmet Akcay, a local resident who witnessed the attack, told Reuters that one of the women fired four or five rounds, aiming at security officials and consulate officers.
“Police were shouting ‘drop your bag, drop your bag’. And the woman was saying: ‘I will not surrender’,” Akcay said.
“The police warned her again: ‘Drop your bag or we will have to shoot you’, and the woman said: ‘Shoot’.”
One of the two women was later captured wounded, the Istanbul governor’s office said.
The Dogan news agency said the injured woman was aged 51 and had served prison time for being a suspected member of the far-leftist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C), which is virulently anti-American and is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and Turkey.
Reuters could not immediately verify the report.
“We are working with Turkish authorities to investigate the incident. The Consulate General remains closed to the public until further notice,” a consulate official said.
On the other side of Istanbul, a vehicle laden with explosives was used in an attack on a police station, injuring three police officers and seven civilians, police said.
One of the attackers was killed during the bombing, while two others and a police officer died in a subsequent firefight, the Istanbul governor’s office said. Broadcaster CNN Turk said the officer was a senior member of the bomb squad who had been sent to investigate the attack.
Shooting continued into Monday morning in the Sultanbeyli district on the Asian side of the Bosphorus waterway, which divides Istanbul, as police carried out raids.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either of the attacks, but U.S. diplomatic missions and police stations have been targeted by far-left groups in Turkey in the past.
The DHKP-C, whose members are among those detained in recent weeks, claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at the U.S. embassy in Ankara in 2013 which killed a Turkish security guard.