US consulate in Turkey targeted as wave of attacks kills 9

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Attacks at Embassy, Police Station in Turkey

Reuters -- Two women shot at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul on Monday and at least nine people were killed in a wave of separate attacks on Turkish security forces, weeks after Ankara launched a crackdown on Islamic State, Kurdish and far-left militants.

The NATO member has been in a heightened state of alert since starting its "synchronized war on terror" last month, including air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq. It has also rounded up hundreds of suspected militants at home.

A far-left group that killed a Turkish security guard in a 2013 suicide bombing of the U.S. embassy in Ankara claimed it was involved in Monday's attack.

The Revolutionary People's Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C), considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Turkey, said one of its members was involved, and called Washington the "arch enemy" of the people of the Middle East and the world.

Turkey's foreign ministry condemned the attack and said security at U.S. diplomatic missions was being tightened. Police with automatic rifles cordoned off streets around the U.S. consulate in the Sariyer district on the European side of Istanbul.

PHOTOS: Attacks rattle Istanbul, Turkey

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Attacks leave 9 dead in Istanbul, Turkey
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US consulate in Turkey targeted as wave of attacks kills 9
A Turkish special force police officer takes cover during clashes with attackers on August 10, 2015 at the Sultanbeyli district in Istanbul. Turkey's largest city Istanbul was Monday shaken by twin attacks on the US consulate and a police station as tensions spiral amid the government's air campaign against Kurdish militants. (Photo credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
SIRNAK, TURKEY - AUGUST 10: A view of military armored vehicle destroyed in the remote-controlled roadside bomb attack in Silopi district of southeastern Sirnak province, Turkey on August 10, 2015. our policemen were killed and another officer was injured in the roadside bomb attack. (Photo by Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 10: Crime Scene Investigation units inspects the crime scene after a car bomb attack on a police station in Sultanbeyli District of Istanbul, Turkey on August 10, 2015. At least 10 people, including three police officers, have been injured in the bomb attack in a police station in Istanbul, security sources said. (Photo by Ahmet Bolat/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 10: Crime Scene Investigation units inspects the crime scene after a car bomb attack on a police station in Sultanbeyli District of Istanbul, Turkey on August 10, 2015. At least 10 people, including three police officers, have been injured in the bomb attack in a police station in Istanbul, security sources said. (Photo by Ahmet Bolat/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SANLIURFA, TURKEY - AUGUST 10: Syrians holding on life in refugee camps in Turkey after fled their home due to the civil war, return to the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane on August 10, 2015 at Mursitpinar Border Gate in Sanliurfa, Turkey. (Photo by Rauf Maltas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 10: Crime Scene Investigation units inspects the crime scene after a car bomb attack on a police station in Sultanbeyli District of Istanbul, Turkey on August 10, 2015. At least 10 people, including three police officers, have been injured in the bomb attack in a police station in Istanbul, security sources said. (Photo by Ahmet Bolat/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
An injured man lies on a street during clashes on August 10, 2015 at the Sultanbeyli district in Istanbul. Turkey's largest city Istanbul was Monday shaken by twin attacks on the US consulate and a police station as tensions spiral amid the government's air campaign against Kurdish militants. AFP PHOTO / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY/ TURKEY OUT (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Turkish forensic police officers work at the site of an explosion at a police station in Istanbul's Sultanbeyli neighbourhood, early Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. Turkey's state-run news agency says the attack targeted the police station and wounded five police officers and two civilians. It caused a fire that collapsed part of the building and there was no immediate claim for the attack. (AP Photo/Akin Celiktas)
Turkish police officers work at the site of an explosion at a police station, seen right, in Istanbul's Sultanbeyli neighborhood, early Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. The bomb attack injured three policemen and seven civilians and caused a fire that collapsed part of the three-story building. Police said the assailants exploded a car bomb near the station. Unknown assailants later fired on police inspecting the scene of the explosion, sparking another gunfight with police that killed a member of the police inspection team and two assailants. (AP Photo/Akin Celiktas)
A masked Turkish police officer secures a road leading to the U. S. Consulate building in Istanbul, Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. Two assailants opened fire at the building on Monday, touching off a gunfight with police before fleeing the scene, Turkish media reports said. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A Turkish police officer secures a road leading to the U.S. Consulate building in Istanbul, Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. Two assailants opened fire at the building on Monday, touching off a gunfight with police before fleeing the scene, Turkish media reports said. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A masked Turkish police officer secures a road leading to the U.S. Consulate building in Istanbul, Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. Two assailants opened fire at the U.S. Consulate building in Istanbul on Monday, touching off a gunfight with police before fleeing the scene, Turkish media reports said. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A woman walks past an armed Turkish police officer securing a road leading to the U.S. Consulate building in Istanbul, Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. Two assailants opened fire at the building on Monday, touching off a gunfight with police before fleeing the scene, Turkish media reports said. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A U.S. flag flies in front of the U.S. Consulate building in Istanbul, Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. Two assailants opened fire at the building in Istanbul on Monday, touching off a gunfight with police before fleeing the scene, Turkish media reports said. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Weapons Unit vehicle from Turkey's Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management, is stationed outside the U. S. consulate during an investigation, in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Turkish authorities say the consulates of the United States of America, Canada, Belgium and Germany in Istanbul have been evacuated after receiving suspicious packages Friday. They said that seven people from the Canadian consulate, four from German consulate and two from Belgian consulate have been hospitalized as a precaution after they received suspicious packages. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
Masked Turkish police officers secure a road leading to the U.S. Consulate building in Istanbul, Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. Two assailants opened fire at the building on Monday, touching off a gunfight with police before fleeing the scene, Turkish media reports said. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
The U.S. Consulate building stands in the background in Istanbul, Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. Two assailants opened fire at the building on Monday, touching off a gunfight with police, Turkish media reports said. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Turkish special force police officers are seen during clashes with attackers on August 10, 2015 at the Sultanbeyli district in Istanbul. Turkey's largest city Istanbul was Monday shaken by twin attacks on the US consulate and a police station as tensions spiral amid the government's air campaign against Kurdish militants. AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 10: Crime Scene Investigation units inspects the crime scene as cops take security measures after the clashes following U.S. Consulate General was targeted in an armed attack in Sariyer District of Istanbul, Turkey on August 10, 2015. Police have detained one of the two suspected assailants who reportedly fired on the consulate general in the northern district of Sariyer. (Photo by Berk Ozkan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Plain clothes police officers take position with guns during clashes with attackers on August 10, 2015 at the Sultanbeyli district in Istanbul. Turkey's largest city Istanbul was Monday shaken by twin attacks on the US consulate and a police station as tensions spiral amid the government's air campaign against Kurdish militants. AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Turkish special force police officers stand guard near the damaged police station on August 10, 2015 at the Sultanbeyli district in Istanbul, after a suspected suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives at the police station just after midnight. Turkey's largest city Istanbul was shaken by twin attacks on the US consulate and a police station as tensions spiral amid the government's air campaign against Kurdish militants. Clashes had raged overnight following the attack on the police base, which left 10 people wounded including three police. The suspected affiliation of the slain militants was not made clear. AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Turkish special force police officers take away damaged vehicles next to the police station on August 10, 2015 at the Sultanbeyli district in Istanbul, after a suspected suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives at the police station just after midnight. Turkey's largest city Istanbul was shaken by twin attacks on the US consulate and a police station as tensions spiral amid the government's air campaign against Kurdish militants. Clashes had raged overnight following the attack on the police base, which left 10 people wounded including three police. The suspected affiliation of the slain militants was not made clear. AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Ahmet Akcay, a resident who witnessed the attack, told Reuters that one of the women fired four or five rounds, aiming at security officials and consulate officers.

"Police were shouting 'drop your bag, drop your bag'. And the woman was saying: 'I will not surrender'," Akcay said.

"The police warned her again: 'Drop your bag or we will have to shoot you', and the woman said: 'Shoot'."

One of the two women was later captured wounded, the Istanbul governor's office said.

The Dogan news agency said the injured woman was aged 51 and had served prison time for being a suspected member of the DHKP-C. Reuters could not immediately verify the report.

"We are working with Turkish authorities to investigate the incident. The Consulate General remains closed to the public until further notice," a consulate official said.

The attack came a day after the U.S. sent six F-16 fighter jets and about 300 personnel to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey as part of coalition efforts to fight Islamic State.

On the other side of Istanbul, a vehicle laden with explosives was used to attack a police station, injuring three police officers and seven civilians, police said.

One of the attackers was killed during the bombing, while two others and a police officer died in a subsequent firefight, the Istanbul governor's office said. Broadcaster CNN Turk said the officer was a senior member of the bomb squad who had been sent to investigate the attack.

Shooting continued into Monday morning in the Sultanbeyli district on the Asian side of the Bosphorus waterway, which divides Istanbul, as police carried out raids.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either of the attacks, but U.S. diplomatic missions and police stations have been targeted by far-left groups in Turkey in the past.

The DHKP-C, whose members are among those detained in recent weeks, claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at the U.S. embassy in Ankara in 2013 which killed a Turkish security guard.

VIOLENCE IN SOUTHEAST

Turkey opened its air bases to the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State (IS) last month after years of reluctance and carried out its own bombing raids, stepping up its role after a suspected IS suicide bomber killed 32 people in the town of Suruc near the Syrian border.

Casting the operations as a war on terrorist groups "without distinction", it simultaneously launched air strikes on PKK targets in Iraq and in southeastern Turkey, and has arrested more than 1,300 people suspected of links to Islamist, Kurdish and far-leftist groups in recent weeks.

It has been a high-risk strategy for a country straddling Europe and the Middle East which depends on tourism for around a tenth of its income, leaving it exposed to the threat of reprisals.

Violence between the security forces and suspected militants intensified in the mainly Kurdish southeast on Monday.

Four police officers were killed when their armored vehicle was hit by roadside explosives in the town of Silopi, the governor's office in the province of Sirnak said.

A soldier was also killed when Kurdish militants opened fire on a military helicopter in a separate attack in Sirnak, the military said in a statement. Security sources said at least seven other soldiers were wounded in the attack, which came as the helicopter took off.

The military launched an air campaign against PKK camps in northern Iraq on July 24 after a resurgence of militant attacks. State-run Anadolu news agency said on Sunday that more than 260 militants had been killed, including senior PKK figures, and more than 400 wounded by Aug. 1.

The violence has left a peace process with the PKK, begun by President Tayyip Erdogan in 2012, in tatters. Erdogan said last month the process had become impossible, although neither side has so far declared the negotiations definitively over.

The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Ankara, the United States and European Union, launched its insurgency in 1984 to press for greater Kurdish rights. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

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