6 Turkish forces killed, US consulate attacked in Istanbul

6 Turkish forces killed, US consulate attacked in Istanbul

6 Turkish forces killed, US consulate attacked in Istanbul

Six members of the Turkish security forces were killed and the US consulate in Istanbul hit by a gun attack in a day of violence today blamed on Kurdish and Marxist radicals as the government pressed on its air campaign against militants.

Turkey's largest city Istanbul was shaken by twin attacks on the US consulate and a police station that killed one senior officer, while five police were killed in the southeastern Sirnak province in an escalating cycle of violence.

The government is waging a two-pronged "anti-terror" offensive against Islamic State (IS) jihadists and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants following a wave of attacks in the country.

But so far air strikes have overwhelmingly focused on the Kurdish militants, who have struck back by attacking the Turkish security forces and leaving a 2013 ceasefire in tatters.

Four Turkish police officers were killed in a roadside bomb attack in the southeastern Silopi district of Sirnak province bordering Iraq and Syria blamed on Kurdish militants, Turkish media said.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, one Turkish soldier was killed when Kurdish militants attacked a military helicopter with rocket launchers as it was transporting personnel in Sirnak's Beytussebap district, the Dogan news agency said.

However the violence also spread to Istanbul, with the authorities blaming an attack on the US consulate on the outlawed Marxist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), and an attack on a police station on the PKK.
Ankara has on occasion linked the leftist-orientated PKK to the DHKP-C.

A suspected suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives at a police station in the Sultanbeyli district on the Asian side of Istanbul just after midnight, wounding ten people, three of them police, the governor's office said in a statement.

Clashes with police then continued throughout the night as other militants fired on the police station. Police took cover behind walls and behind their armoured vehicles to engage in pitched battles with the militants, television pictures showed.

Beyazit Ceken, head of the police bomb disposal department, was wounded in the clashes and died of his injuries in hospital, the governor's office said. Two militants were also killed in the clashes, it added.

Meanwhile, two armed individuals early today launched a gun attack against the well-fortified US consulate in the quiet district of Istinye on the Bosphorus on the outskirts of Istanbul.

An operation was launched to capture the two militants and one of the attackers -- a woman -- was later captured wounded, the governor's office said, while the other female suspect was at large.

The official Anatolia news agency named her as Hatice Asik, 42, a member of the outlawed DHKP-C who had been planning a suicide bombing.