World

Russia's ambassador to Turkey dies in gun attack

ANKARA Turkish authorities were yesterday holding six people over the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Ankara by an off-duty policeman, as Russia urgently sought answers over the murder.

With the Turkish capital already on high alert after a string of attacks this year, a man also fired shots outside the US embassy overnight in a separate incident.

President Vladimir Putin declared "we have to know who directed the hand of the killer", and the Kremlin said a Russian investigative team was flying to Turkey to probe the murder.

An unprecedented three-way meeting among the foreign ministers of Turkey, Russia and Iran in Moscow over the Syrian crisis was set to go ahead despite the killing.

Ambassador Andrei Karlov was shot four times in the back by Turkish policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22, as he opened an exhibition of Russian photography in Ankara.

Dramatic images showed Mr Karlov stumble and then crash to the ground on his back as the attacker brandished his gun at terrified onlookers, who cowered behind cocktail tables.

The gunman shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest") and then said all those responsible for what has happened in Syria and Aleppo would be held accountable.

Altintas had set off the metal detector security check when he entered the exhibition as he was carrying a gun, the Sabah daily said.

But after showing his police ID, he was waved through and allowed to proceed.

The Hurriyet daily added that Altintas, who had worked for Ankara's anti-riot police for the last 2½ years, had stayed at a nearby hotel to prepare for the attack.

He was later killed by police after a shootout that lasted over 15 minutes.

Six people have been detained over the attack, including the sister, mother, father and uncle of Altintas, Turkish media said. - AFP

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