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Gunfire wounds Russian ambassador in Turkey in attack at photo exhibit

Gunfire erupted Monday at a photo exhibit where Russia’s ambassador was one of the speakers, wounding the diplomat and others. One gunman was killed, Russian officials said.
In Moscow, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that Ambassador Andrei Karlov had been wounded by one gunshot, but efforts to treat him were delayed by further gunfire in the gallery in Ankara, the Turkish capital.
The private Turkish television channel NTV described the injuries to Karlov as serious. The identities of the others reported wounded was not immediately clear.

“Unfortunately, it is not confirmed that the ambassador is in the hospital. They are trying to treat him at the scene because the shooting has not stopped,” said a statement from Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Moments later, Moscow confirmed that one gunman was killed. It was not known if there were other attacks.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, and a motive was unclear. But Russia is a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has taken part in attacks on Syrian rebels, who have extensive networks in Turkey.
Russia and Turkey, a foe of Assad, recently joined to broker a deal to evacuate civilians and rebel fighters from the last opposition enclaves in Aleppo, a major Syrian city that has been under relentless attacks from Syrian forces and their allies.

CNN Turk television reported that shooting continued after the attack targeting the ambassador.
The attack occurred at a photo exhibition in the capital, Ankara. The Associated Press published a photo showing a man lying on the ground with an armed assailant dressed in a suit standing nearby.

Karlov started his diplomatic career during the Soviet era in 1976 and had previously served at Russian embassies in Seoul and Pyongyang, North Korea. He took the post in Ankara in July 2013, according to the embassy’s website.
Turkey has been hit by a serious of attacks in recent years blamed on groups including the Islamic State and Kurdish separatists, who have battled the government for decades for greater autonomy in Turkey’s southeastern regions.

In Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby condemned Monday’s attack.

Update: Turkey media have identified the assassin as a serving police officer – Mert Altintas,now a member of Ankara Police’s special operations unit.

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