A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device on the outside perimeter of the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital Friday, officials said, in a terrorist attack believed to be the work of either Al Qaeda or a proxy for Iran.
According to U.S. military sources, a Turkish national was killed in the attack in Ankara -- the bomber is also thought to be dead. All U.S. staff are safe at this time, though the U.S. consulate in Turkey reportedly has advised Americans in the country against visiting U.S. missions for the time being.
The attack, nearly five months after the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, comes as John Kerry is formally sworn in as secretary of State Friday afternoon.
The State Department is working with the Turkish government to investigate.
"We can confirm a terrorist blast at a check point on the perimeter of our embassy compound in Ankara, Turkey," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Friday. "We are working closely with the Turkish national police to make a full assessment of the damage and the casualties, and to begin an investigation."
The bomb appeared to have exploded inside the security checkpoint at the side entrance of the embassy, but did not do damage inside the embassy itself. Footage showed that the door had been blown off its hinges and debris littered the ground and across the road. An Associated Press journalist saw a body in the street in front of an embassy side entrance.
Police swarmed the area and several ambulances were dispatched. An AP journalist saw one woman who appeared to be seriously injured being carried into an ambulance.
The working presumption at this time is that it was Al Qaeda or a proxy for Iran behind the attack -- not Kurdish separatists or the Kurdish party PKK, because PKK has never directly attacked or threatened U.S. interests in Turkey.
U.S. Patriot missiles were recently deployed to the border with Syria, along with some U.S. troops, to operate the missile-defense system inside Turkey.
The U.S. Embassy put out a brief statement saying: "The US Embassy would like to thank the Turkish Government, the media, and members of the public for their expressions of solidarity and outrage over the incident."
On Capitol Hill, the new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said the attack "underscores the need for a comprehensive review of security at our diplomatic posts."
"This suicide bombing at our Embassy in Turkey is yet another stark reminder of the constant terrorist threat against U.S. facilities, personnel, and interests abroad," Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., said.
The embassy building is heavily protected. It is near an area where several other embassies are located, including that of Germany and France. Police sealed off the area and journalists were being kept away.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/01/at-least-2-dead-in-terrorist-attack-outside-us-embassy-in-turkish-capital/#ixzz2Jf9ttcSV