Turkish police kill two armed women after attack on bus
Published 04/03/2016 | 02:30
Two female militants were killed by police when they fired shots and threw a grenade at a Turkish police bus in Istanbul yesterday.
Two police officers were lightly wounded in the attack and an investigation is under way to identify the militant group responsible.
One of the women threw a grenade and the other opened fire with what appeared to be a machine gun as a riot police bus drove towards the entrance of a police station in the Bayrampasa district of Turkey's biggest city.
Police fired back, injuring one of the women, before tracking them to a nearby building.
Special forces units and police surrounded the building, leading to an hour-long stand-off between the women and the police in which there was sporadic gunfire.
Attacks on Turkey's security forces have increased as violence flares in the predominantly Kurdish south-east, where a ceasefire between Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants and the state collapsed last July.
The PKK, considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, launched a separatist armed rebellion against Turkey more than three decades ago. More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have since been killed.
Turkey has also become a target for Isil militants, who are blamed for three suicide bombings - one last year in the town of Suruc near the Syrian border and another in the capital, Ankara, and one in Istanbul in January. Those attacks killed more than 140 people.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for yesterday's attack.
The radical leftist group DHKP-C has repeatedly staged similar attacks on police stations, largely in Istanbul suburbs.
A suicide car bombing targeted military buses in Ankara killed 29 people last month. The government said that attack was carried out by a member of YPG, the Syrian Kurdish militia, with help from PKK militants. The extreme-left DHKP-C has waged a violent campaign for more than three decades. Turkey says the group has killed dozens of police officers and soldiers along with scores of civilians since it was formed in 1978, with the aim of replacing the Turkish government with a Marxist one.
It also opposes what it calls US imperialism and has several times targeted US military personnel and diplomatic missions.
Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said an investigation into yesterday's attack was under way.
The security forces surrounded the area in Bayrampasa district where the two women took refuge.
Both Kurdish rebels and far-left militants have attacked police in Istanbul in the past.
Yesterday's attack comes amid a rise in violence in Turkey since mid-2015.
In November, Kurdish PKK rebels said they would resume fighting against the army, ending a unilateral ceasefire that over the past three decades has killed tens of thousands of people.
Other recent attacks in Turkey which took place include: January 2016, when at least 10 people, mostly German tourists, were killed in a suspected Isil suicide bombing in Istanbul.
October 2015: More than a hundred people were killed in a double-suicide bombing at a Kurdish peace rally in Ankara
July 2015: In the predominantly Kurdish town of Suruc, near the Syrian border, over 30 people were killed in a suicide bombing, again blamed on Isil.