Turkish leftist DHKP-C claims suicide bomb attack in Istanbul | News | DW | 07.01.2015
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Turkish leftist DHKP-C claims suicide bomb attack in Istanbul

A leftist Turkish group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at an Istanbul police station that killed one officer. The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front called the attack "an act of sacrifice."

An outlawed Turkish Marxist group, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), said on Wednesday that it was behind a suicide bombing in the heart of Istanbul that killed a police officer.

The attack on Tuesday, which also left another policeman injured, was carried out by a female bomber who spoke English before detonating explosives.

The bombing was aimed at "bringing to account" President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) over corruption after a Monday ruling that four former ministers accused of graft would not stand trial.

The DHKP-C also said the bombing was a reprisal for the death of Berkin Elvan, a teenage protester who died in March 2014. Elvan spent months in a coma, having allegedly been injured by police in the anti-government protests of 2013.

The group named the female bomber as Elif Sultan Kalsen, reported by Turkish media to have been in her mid-twenties.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday evening that police had managed to prevent worse casualties because not all of the explosives detonated. Two other bombs were safely defused, he said, praising the work of officers.

He added that the "widest investigation" would be undertaken to determine which organization carried out the attack in a tourist area near the city's world-renowned Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia museum.

Woman spoke to officers

The female assailant was said to have entered the police station in the Sultanahmet district detonating the explosives she was carrying on her at about 5 p.m. local time (4 p.m. CET).

Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin told Turkish television that the woman had spoken English to officers, saying she had lost her wallet. Emergency services were quickly called to the scene and a local tram line halted.

The attack on police was the second in a week. Five days earlier, police subdued a man who had thrown hand grenades and fired a weapon at officers on guard duty at the Ottoman-era Dolmbahce Palace.

Both grenades hurled by the man, named as Firat Ozcelik, failed to explode. That attack was also claimed by the DHKP-C.

A variety of groups have targeted security forces in Turkey in the past, including Kurdish insurgents, nationalists, Islamists, and left-wing groups.

rc/gb (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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