The Russian ambassador to Ankara was killed in a gun attack at an art gallery in the Turkish capital, reportedly by a Turkish riot police officer.

The shooter, wearing a business suit and tie, was heard to shout: “We die in Aleppo, you die here.” The remark refers to Russian support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in the ongoing bloody conflict between rebels and the Syrian government.

The New York Times reported that the shooter was dead and that others had been wounded. “The gunman, described by Ankara’s mayor as a policeman, also wounded at least three others in the assault on the envoy, Andrey G. Karlov, which was captured on Turkish video. Turkish officials said the assailant was killed by other officers in a shootout,” the Times wrote.

The Guardian reports:

Andrei Karlov was attending the opening of an exhibit at a contemporary arts centre when he was attacked on Monday evening. He was several minutes into a speech at the exhibit when a man shouted “Allahu Akbar” and fired at least eight shots, video of the attack showed.

After firing at the ambassador, the man, dressed in a suit and tie, shouted in Turkish: “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria. Unless our towns are secure, you won’t enjoy security. Only death can take me from here. Everyone who is involved in this suffering will pay a price.”

He also shouted in Arabic: “We are the one who pledged allegiance to Muhammad, to wage jihad.”

RIA Novosti reported that Karlov died at the scene, which was later confirmed by the Russian foreign ministry.

Local media, citing security guards at the scene, said the killer showed a police ID to enter the gallery. The pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper claimed he was in the Ankara riot police. In video, he could be seen standing calmly behind Karlov before pulling out a pistol and opening fire.

In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin called a meeting with his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the heads of the security services.

The Turkish government reportedly issued a gag order preventing media from covering the assassination. Videos of the shooting and the immediate aftermath are being shared widely on social media, however. View two clips, including one showing the moment Karlov was shot, here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly


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