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Gunmen open fire at US embassy in Turkey’s Ankara

Unknown gunmen have opened fire at the US Embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara in a drive-by shooting that caused no casualties, police and the embassy spokesperson said Monday.

A police officer said several gunshots were fired about 5 am (0200 GMT) and that nobody was hurt where the embassy is closed this week due to the Islamic Eid al-Adha holiday.

“We can confirm a security incident took place at the US Embassy early this morning. We have no reports of any injuries and we are investigating the details,” David Gainer, the embassy spokesperson, said.

Police were searching for the attackers who went on the run after the shooting. According to CNN Turk, four or five gunshots were heard, one of them hit a window in a security cabin but caused no casualties.

The US Embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul have been the targets of assaults by militants and have faced numerous security threats in the past.

The attack comes amid tensions rising between Ankara and the US over the detention of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor, in Turkey over terror-related charges.

Brunson was indicted by a Turkish court on charges of having links with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group and the movement of the US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen. Ankara accuses Gulen of having masterminded the July 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The spat has hit trade ties between the US and Turkey hard and affected the Turkish economy. The lira has already lost about 30 percent of its value against the US dollar since the beginning of August.

Turkey and the US also disagree over their military interventions in the Syria war, Ankara’s plan to buy missile defense systems from Russia and the US conviction of a Turkish state bank executive on sanctions-busting charges in January.

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