Conflict & Justice

Topkapi Palace: Turkish tourist site attacked


Police stand guard on November 30, 2011, at the scene where a man armed with a shotgun opened fire earlier in the day in a tourist area of Istanbul, wounding two people.



A gunman attacked a major tourist site called the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, Wednesday. The gunman, a Libyan with Syrian citizenship, opened fire at the palace and wounded a Turkish soldier and security guard, the Associated Press reported. He than ran through the courtyard chanting in Arabic, "God is great."

Police snipers responded to the gunfire and killed the attacker, who reportedly entered Turkey three days ago.

More from GlobalPost: Turkey to Syria: ‘No regime can survive by killing or jailing’

The attack on the Topkapi Palace came minutes after Turkey announced economic sanctions on Syria in response to the brutal government crackdown on protesters.

The palace was the seat of the Ottoman sultans for close to 400 years.

"I saw the gunman carrying a gun on his shoulder, like a hunter. He had ammunition around his neck and a backpack. His overcoat was buttoned, I couldn't see what was underneath," Idris Cengiz told AP television. "He was coming toward us and my friend said he looked like a hunter so I asked him in English 'Are you a hunter?' He said something in Arabic which I didn't understand. Then he said 'Allahu Akbar' (God is Great)."

MSNBC has photos of the gunman.

Turkey's foreign minister said Tuesday that the country was prepared for "military intervention" in Syria to stop the crackdown if need be.

"We hope that a military intervention will never be necessary,” Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview with television broadcaster Kanal 24. "However, the Syrian regime has to find a way of making peace with its own people to eliminate this option. If the oppression continues, Turkey is ready for any scenario."