Knife-wielding man shot outside Israeli embassy in Turkey: Officials

Police shot and wounded a man wielding a knife outside the Israeli embassy in Ankara, saying early indications show he suffered from mental illness and had no ties to terror groups.
Forensic investigators examine the area in front of the Israeli embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on Sept 21, 2016.
Forensic investigators examine the area in front of the Israeli embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on Sept 21, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

ANKARA/JERUSALEM (REUTERS) – A man was shot and wounded by Turkish police outside the Israeli Embassy in Ankara after he shouted slogans and wielded a knife on Wednesday (Sept 21), but initial inquiries indicated he had no links to an organised group, officials said.

The man, a 41-year-old from the central city of Konya, was carrying a bag and brandishing a 30cm knife as he approached the embassy, the Ankara governor’s office said in a statement.

He was shot in the leg after ignoring a warning from police, it said, adding he did not appear to be linked to a group. “According to initial examinations... (the man) appears mentally unstable, no criminal record or organisational links have been found.” 

Turkey faces multiple security threats, including Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants blamed for bombings in Istanbul and elsewhere, and Kurdish militants following the resumption of a three-decade insurgency in the mainly Kurdish southeast last year.

Police told Reuters the man shouted “Allahu akbar” (“God is greatest”) outside the embassy before he was shot. Police were examining his bag but had not tried to detonate it, a Reuters photographer at the scene said. The area outside was only briefly cordoned off. 

“The staff is safe. The attacker was wounded before he reached the embassy,” an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a text message, adding that the man was apprehended at the outer perimeter of the secured zone around the embassy.

Turkish media reports initially suggested that there had been two attackers, but the governor’s office and police made no mention of a second assailant.