The US Mission in Turkey has temporarily halted some of its operations, having received intelligence that American citizens, as well as a US diplomatic facility in Ankara, were at risk of attack.
“Credible reports” show that potential terrorist attacks and kidnappings are being planned against US citizens in Istanbul, the US Embassy in Turkey said in a statement released on Friday. According to the diplomatic mission, the US Consulate General in Istanbul has been specifically targeted.
The statement urged US citizens in Turkey to stay vigilant, especially in “locations where Americans or foreigners may gather,” such as office buildings and shopping malls.
The threat has been deemed serious enough to temporarily suspend citizen and visa services at US Mission facilities in the country, including the US Embassy in Ankara, the US Consulate General in Istanbul, and two other US consulates in Turkey. American citizens who had appointments at these facilities will be contacted and given instructions on how to reschedule their meetings, the statement said.
The mission did not elaborate on where the “credible reports” came from, nor did it say who might be behind the alleged terror and kidnapping plots, but it’s not uncommon for US diplomatic buildings in the region to be targeted by terrorists, militant groups, or violent protesters. Most notably, the US Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone is regularly attacked by mortar fire. The compound was stormed by a furious mob last December, after US airstrikes allegedly killed 25 Iraqi fighters. Washington had accused the militants, part of Kata’ib Hezbollah, of carrying out a rocket attack on a US base with Iranian backing.
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