The Russian ambassador to Turkey has reportedly been killed by a gunman shouting about Aleppo, the war-ravaged Syrian city Moscow has been bombing.
Turkish media report Andrey Karlov was shot at a photo exhibition by man who shouted out “Aleppo” and “revenge” as he fired, an eyewitness said.
“When the ambassador was delivering a speech, a tall man wearing a suit fired into the air first and then took aim at the ambassador,” Hasim Kilic, a correspondent for the daily Hurriyet, told AFP. “He said something about ‘Aleppo’ and ‘revenge’.”
The attack came after days of protests in Turkey over Russia’s role in Syria.
Several others were injured in the ambush.
The gunman, who allegedly entered the gallery with police ID, fired into the air as the ambassador spoke and then shot him, the Hurriyet newspaper reported. The attacker was then ‘neutralised’, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said.
Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital, Ankara, when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted “Allahu akbar (God is great)” and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience.
The attacker also said some words in Russian and smashed several of the photos hung for the exhibition. There was panic as people ran for cover. NTV said three other people were wounded in the attack.
It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack. Islamic State militants have been active in Turkey and carried out several bomb attacks on Turkish targets.
Prime Minister Theresa May said this afternoon in the House of Commons that news of the shooting was “a matter of concern”.
U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said U.S. officials were aware of reports about the shooting.
“We condemn this act of violence, whatever its source,” Kirby said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”
It comes a day after protests in Turkey over Russia’s military action in Syria.
Karlov has represented Russia in the country since 2013.
Russia and Turkey have been involved in conflict in Syria across the border from where over two million Syrian refugees have settled. Turkey has been a staunch opponent of President Bashar al-Assad while Russia has deployed troops and its air force in support of the Syrian leader.
(Source: THE SUN)