Shots fired at U.S. embassy in Ankara

Shots fired at U.S. embassy in Ankara

Several gunshots were fired from a vehicle at the U.S. embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara, this morning, hitting a window in a security cabin but causing no casualties.

A police officer said that the drive-by shooting occurred around 5 a.m. (0200 GMT) and that nobody was hurt. The embassy was set to be closed this week for a public holiday to mark the Islamic Eid al-Adha festival, Reuters reported.

Police teams were searching for the assailants, who fled in a white car after the attack, CNN Turk reported, adding that four or five gunshots were heard.

Broadcaster Haberturk showed police teams inspecting one of the entrances to the embassy and apparent damage caused by a gunshot could be seen in one window. It said empty cartridges were found at the scene.

The U.S. embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul have been the targets of attacks by militants and have faced numerous security threats in the past.

The attack coincided with a deepening row between Ankara and Washington over the trial of American pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey.

Brunson, who has been living in Turkey for more than two decades, was accused of helping supporters of the U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen who Turkish authorities say masterminded the 2016 coup attempt. He was also charged with supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The pastor was released for house arrest on July 25. The court ordered him to wear an electronic bracelet at all times and barred him from traveling outside of the country.

In early August, Washington has imposed sanctions on Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, blaming both officials for the continued imprisonment of Brunson.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned Turkey on August 16 to expect more economic sanctions unless it hands over Brunson.

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