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Turkish far-left group claims responsibility for US Embassy attack

The man suspected of bombing the U.S. embassy in Turkey has been described as a well-known militant from a far-left group. Meanwhile, clashes outside the presidential palace in Egypt indicate President Morsi may be losing control. NBC's Richard Engel reports.

The Turkish far-left group DHKP-C claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, according to a statement on a website linked to the group, news agencies reported.

The statement posted Saturday on "The People's Cry" website said Ecevit Sanli carried out "an act of self-sacrifice on Feb. 1, 2013, by entering the Ankara embassy of the United States, murderer of the peoples of the world," according to Reuters and The Associated Press.

The DHKP-C's statement also called Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan a U.S. "puppet," according to Reuters.


"Murderer America! You will not run away from people's rage," the statement read, warning Erdogan that he was also a target.

A picture the website claimed was of the bomber was posted with the statement. A government terror expert confirmed the authenticity of the website, the AP reported.

The Ankara governor's office said DNA tests showed Sanli had indeed been the attacker. Authorities said Sanli had fled Turkey 10 years ago and was wanted by the police, according to Reuters.

Sanli had previously been jailed in 1997 for attacks on a police station and a military staff college in Istanbul, but Reuters said his sentence was postponed because he became sick during a hunger strike. He was never imprisoned again.

After he was sentenced to life in prison in 2002, Sanli fled Turkey, according to Reuters. Interior Minister Muammer Guler said he was able to return to the country using false documents.

The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, is a far-left group designated a terrorist organization by the United States, Turkey and the European Union. Leftist groups such as the DHKP-C strongly oppose the United States' influence over Turkey.

Also on Saturday, Turkish state media said officials detained three people in Istanbul and Ankara in connection with the attack, Reuters reported.

A suicide bomber blew himself up at an entrance to the U.S. Embassy compound in Ankara on Friday. The bomber and a Turkish guard were killed in the attack, which the U.S. described as "an act of terror."

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The U.S. flag flies at half-staff a day after a suicide bomber struck the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.

The bomber, who was wearing a suicide vest, made it to the first X-ray machine in a screening area leading to the visa section, police sources said, and then detonated the device.

The Turkish security guard standing nearby was killed, but two guards on the other side of the checkpoint, behind bulletproof glass, survived. A Turkish journalist on her way to visit the ambassador was critically wounded.

On Sept. 11 last year, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, prompting concern about security for diplomats.

SITE Intelligence Group via AFP - Getty Images

This image released by the SITE Intelligence Group on Feb. 2, shows a man identified as Ecevit Sanli on the website of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, a Turkey-based radical Marxist-Leninist group, that claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara on Feb. 1.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Friday that after Benghazi, every U.S. post in the world reviewed its security. She added that the embassy in Ankara is one of the posts due for a complete compound overhaul. The building housing the embassy was built in the 1950s and needs a full upgrade, Nuland said.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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