‘Mentally disturbed’ assailant shot outside Israeli embassy

Published 21.09.2016 12:44 Modified 21.09.2016 18:44
emIhlas News Agency Photo/em
Ihlas News Agency Photo

A man carrying a 30-centimeter-long knife was shot in the leg and detained after he tried to storm the Israeli embassy compound in the capital Ankara yesterday. Authorities identified the attacker as Osman Nuri Çalışkan, an "apparently mentally disturbed individual according to initial findings."

The 41-year-old man was armed with the knife wrapped in a newspaper and was carrying a bag whose contents were not known by the time Daily Sabah went to print, when he approached the entrance of the compound in Ankara's Gaziosmanpaşa district. Turkish security guards at the entrance warned the man to halt and fired their guns when he did not comply, according to media reports. The man was shot in the leg and was injured in a minor capacity.

The Ankara Governorate said Çalışkan – who was a construction worker from the central city of Konya according to reports in the Turkish media – did not have any connections to any terrorist organizations and no criminal record. The governorate said Çalışkan shouted slogans as he tried to storm the heavily protected embassy but did not elaborate. Çalışkan shouted, "I will save the Middle East," Turkish news sites reported.

Police took strict security measures at the scene following the incident. Authorities said the embassy staff was safe. Amira Oron, Israel's charge d'affaires, who has been the highest ranking diplomat for Israel in Turkey since the two countries downgraded diplomatic ties after a 2010 incident, was not at the embassy at the time of the attempted attack.

Foreign missions in Turkey are already vigilant over terror attacks, as Turkey faces a threat of terrorism from the PKK and DAESH terrorist groups. Although embassies and consulates in Turkey were targeted in past years by terrorists, they were mostly non-lethal attacks. In 2013, a Turkish security guard was killed when a suicide bomber from the terrorist group, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), blew himself up outside the U.S. embassy in the Turkish capital.

Releasing a statement after the attempted attack, the Israeli embassy said they "trusted" Turkish forces to control and investigate the incident. "The embassy would like to take the opportunity to thank the Turkish police for its professional performance," it said in a written statement on its Facebook account.

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