Turkey: US Embassy bomber had terror conviction
The suicide bomber who struck the U.S. Embassy in Ankara spent several years in prison on terrorism charges but was released on probation after being diagnosed with a hunger strike-related brain disorder, officials said Saturday.
The bomber, identified as 40-year-old leftist militant Ecevit Sanli, killed himself and a Turkish security guard Friday, in what U.S. officials said was a terrorist attack. Sanli was armed with enough TNT to blow up a two-story building and also detonated a hand grenade, officials said.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that police believe the bomber was connected with his nation’s outlawed leftist militant group Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C. And Saturday, DHKP-C claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on a website linked to the group. It said Sanli carried out the act of “self-sacrifice” on behalf of the group.
Turkey’s private NTV television, meanwhile, said police detained three people Saturday who may be connected to the U.S. Embassy attack during operations in Ankara and Istanbul.