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Two Women Stage Attack on Police Station in Istanbul Suburb - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Police secure the area after an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey January 12, 2016.- Reuters

Police secure the area after an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey January 12, 2016.- Reuters

Two women staged a gun and grenade attack at a Turkish police bus as it arrived at a station in an Istanbul suburb on Thursday, footage from the Dogan news agency showed. Television stations said there were no casualties.

The footage showed one of the women hurling a grenade and the other opening fire with what appeared to be a machine gun as the riot police bus drove towards the station entrance in the Bayrampasa district of Turkey’s biggest city.

Police returned fire, injuring one of the two assailants, who abandoned their car and escaped to a nearby building. Police tracked the two to the building and evacuated nearby buildings so that security forces safely carry out a security operation against the assailants.

Footage on Turkish television stations showed the street cordoned off as armed plainclothes police in bullet-proof vests emerged from the police station.

Violence in Turkey has increased as the government has recently been engaged in an intensified crackdown on the country’s Kurdish population in the southeast. Turkey has also been staging airstrikes against Kurdish positions in Iraq, and Turkish artillery fire has also been hitting Kurds inside Syria. A ceasefire between Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants and the state collapsed last July.

The PKK, labelled as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, launched a separatist armed rebellion against Turkey more than three decades ago. More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have since been killed.

Turkey has also become a target for terrorist groups like ISIS, who are blamed for three suicide bombings – one last year in the town of Suruc near the Syrian border and another in the capital, Ankara, and one in Istanbul in January. Those attacks left more than 140 people dead.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Thursday’s attack. The radical leftist group DHKP-C has repeatedly staged similar attacks on police stations, largely in Istanbul suburbs.

Last month, a suicide car bombing targeted military buses in Ankara and killed 29 people. The government said that attack was carried out by a member of YPG, the Syrian Kurdish militia, with help from PKK militants.