[Debate] A heavily armed man, "a Libyan with Syrian citizenship, " attacks Topkapi Palace, wounding a Turkish soldier & a security guard
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Wed Nov 30 16:14:15 GMT 2011
Gunman shot dead at Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace after he wounds 2 people
By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 9:27 AM
ISTANBUL — A heavily armed man opened fire at one of Istanbul’s main
tourist attractions on Wednesday, wounding a Turkish soldier and a
security guard before police snipers killed the attacker, officials
The motive for the assault at Topkapi Palace was not immediately
known. But police said the man, a Libyan with Syrian citizenship, had
entered Turkey only three days ago.
Police said the attacker arrived at the palace in a car with Syrian
license plates. Minutes before the attack, Turkey’s Foreign Minister
Ahmet Davutoglu had announced tough economic sanctions on Syria to
protest its government’s crackdown on an 8-month-old pro-democracy
Multiple gun shots were heard from behind the high walls of the
Topkapi Palace before the attacker was killed, and some tourists threw
themselves on the ground to avoid the violence , officials and
Topkapi Palace, the seat of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years,
is located in the city’s historic Sultanahmet district, which also
includes the Blue Mosque and the former Byzantine church of Haghia
The palace — including ornate courtyards, gilded treasures and dozens
of rooms that once housed harems, attracts thousands of visitors each
Witnesses said the man shot the soldier in the leg and the guard in
the abdomen before running into the palace courtyard through the main
gate, chanting in Arabic “God is Great!”
Istanbul’s governor, Huseyin Avni Mutlu, said the wounded are not in
life threatening condition.
Mutlu said the gunman made no demands and that police decided to shoot
him when he refused to surrender.
Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said the attacker had entered
Turkey on Sunday. The state-run TRT television, citing unnamed
officials, identified him as 36-year-old Samir Salem Ali Elmadhavri, a
Libyan with Syrian citizenship.
Authorities would divulge further details about the man’s identity and
Sahin said it was not immediately known if the attacker was affiliated
with any groups or organizations in Libya or Syria.
The prosecutor’s office in Istanbul launched an investigation into the
attack, authorities said.
A spokesman for Libya’s National Transition Council, Jalal el-Galal,
said authorities in Tripoli have no information at this point on the
The man was seen at an outdoor cafe in the area before going on his
rampage, witnesses told Associated Press television. A photo obtained
by The Associated Press shows the attacker carrying a rifle and a
cartridge belt around his neck.
“I saw the gunman carrying a gun on his shoulder, like a hunter. He
had ammunition around his neck and a backpack. His overcoat was
buttoned, I couldn’t see what was underneath,” witness Idris Cengiz
told AP television. “He was coming toward us and my friend said he
looked like a hunter so I asked him in English ‘Are you a hunter?’ He
said something in Arabic which I didn’t understand. Then he said
‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Great).”
Cengiz said he and his friend heard the gun shots moments later.
“We ran we saw a soldier and a security guard laying on the ground,” he said.
No tourists were hurt in the attack.
“I’m not afraid because this kind of thing can happen anywhere these
days, even in Amsterdam, where I live,” Dutch tourist, Yeuonne
Alkemade, told AP television. “I’m sad for Turkey and Istanbul because
this is one of the top tourist attractions here.”
Turkey has suffered a number of terrorist attacks in the past.
Earlier this year, police arrested alleged Turkish members of al-Qaida
terrorist network accused of planning to attack the U.S. Embassy in
Ankara and another group in the southern city of Adana, which is home
to the Incirlik Air Base used by the United States to transfer
noncombat supplies to Iraq and Afghanistan. Authorities have said
al-Qaida planned to attack Incirlik in the past but was deterred by
An attack blamed on al-Qaida-affiliated militants outside the U.S.
Consulate in Istanbul in 2008 left three assailants and three
Homegrown Islamic militants tied to al-Qaida attacked the British
Consulate, a British bank and two synagogues in Istanbul in 2003,
killing 58 people.
Hacaoglu reported from Ankara, Turkey. AP correspondents Suzan Fraser
in Ankara and Vanessa Gera in Tripoli, Libya, contributed to this
If it is true that 600 Libyans joined Syrian 'free' army, then Libyan
must be 'the new COOL'!! #syria #libya
Leading Libyan Islamist met Free Syrian Army opposition group
Libyan authorities this week dispatched the country's most renowned
Islamist militia leader to meet senior figures of the Free Syrian
Army, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
By Ruth Sherlock in Tripoli 9:00PM GMT 27 Nov 2011
Abdulhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the
former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, "met with Free
Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey," said a
military official working with Mr Belhadj. "Mustafa Abdul Jalil (the
interim Libyan president) sent him there."
. . . . .
The meetings came as a sign of a growing ties between Libya's
fledgling government and the Syrian opposition. The Daily Telegraph on
Saturday revealed that the new Libyan authorities had offered money
and weapons to the growing insurgency against Bashar al-Assad.
Mr Belhaj also discussed sending Libyan fighters to train troops, the
source said. Having ousted one dictator, triumphant young men, still
filled with revolutionary fervour, are keen to topple the next. The
commanders of armed gangs still roaming Tripoli's streets said
yesterday that "hundreds" of fighters wanted to wage war against the
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