ANKARA, Turkey — A suicide bomber killed himself and a Turkish security guard Friday at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara in what the White House described as a terrorist attack. Turkish officials said the blast was linked to domestic militants.
The United States immediately warned Americans to stay away from all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey and to be wary in large crowds.
The blast drew condemnation from Turkey, the U.S., Britain and other nations and officials from both Turkey and the U.S. pledged to work together to fight terrorism.
"A suicide bombing on the perimeter of an embassy is by definition an act of terror. It is a terrorist attack," White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said police believe the bomber was connected to a domestic leftist militant group. Carney, however, said the motive for the attack and who was behind it was not known.
A respected Turkish television journalist was also seriously wounded in the 1:15 p.m. blast in the Turkish capital and two other guards sustained lighter wounds, officials said.
The state-run Anadolu Agency identified the bomber by his first name and initial ‚Äî Ecevit S. It said the 40-year-old man was a member of the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, which has claimed responsibility for assassinations and bombings since the 1970s.
The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States but had been relatively quiet in recent years.
The U.S. Embassy building in Ankara is heavily protected and located near several other embassies, including those of Germany and France.
Friday's explosion occurred inside the security checkpoint at the side entrance to the U.S. embassy, which is used by staff. A guard standing outside the checkpoint was killed while the two guards that were wounded "were standing in a more protected area," said Interior Minister Muammer Guler said.