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US closes missions to Turkey after overnight shooting at Ankara embassy

The US embassy in Ankara says US missions in Turkey will be closed on Tuesday after shots were fired outside the embassy overnight. No one was hurt in the incident, and the suspect is in police custody.

 US embassy in Ankara (picture-alliance/AP Photo/B. Ozbilici)

US embassy in Ankara

The United States embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara, said it and its consulates in Istanbul and Adana will be closed for normal operations on Tuesday after shots were fired outside the mission overnight.

"An individual approached the US Embassy Ankara main gate and discharged a firearm," the embassy said in a statement, adding that no one was hurt.

Watch video 01:46

Russian ambassador shot dead in Turkey

The incident occurred at 3:50am (0050 GMT/UTC), just hours after the Russian ambassador was shot dead nearby by an off-duty policeman.

The suspect in the embassy shooting has not been identified, but he reportedly fired eight shots from a pump-action shotgun that was hidden in his trenchcoat. Embassy security guards apparently overpowered the gunman without anyone being hurt.

Iran announced that its diplomatic missions in Turkey will also be closing Tuesday, including its embassy in Ankara as well as its three consulates.

"All consular services in Iranian consulates in Istanbul, Trabzon and Erzurum will be closed on Tuesday, December 20. We urge all Iranians to avoid visiting these locations," the embassy said in a statement on its website.

Russia and Iran are the primary supporters of the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The gunman shouted, "Don't forget Aleppo" when he shot the Russian diplomat.

For now the German and French diplomatic posts are continuing to operate normally.

The US embassy stands just across the street from the art exhibition center where the Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov was assassinated earlier in the night. The attack was condemned by US officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry.

Witnesses to the shooting watched in horror as the gunman, clad in a dark suit and tie, fired at least eight shots into the ambassador, even walking around him and shooting once again as he lay motionless on the floor.

Watch video 02:15

DW correspondent Dorian Jones on killing of Russian ambassador to Turkey

The gunman - who was later identified as Mevlut Mert Altintas, a 22-year-old member of Ankara's riot police team - was killed in a firefight with police. It appears that no one else was shot.

Two more people have been detained by police in connection with the ambassador's shooting. Police have now detained six people for questioning, according to the Anadolu news agency.

 

More to follow ...

bik/tj (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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