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2 Killed As Terror Attack On Istanbul Courthouse Thwarted (photos)

Authorities announced two assailants linked to the DHKP-C terrorist group attacked a police checkpoint outside a major courthouse in Istanbul on Tuesday and were killed in the shootout that left six people injured, one of whom later succumbed to injuries.

Two people were killed and six others were injured in a shooting in front of a courthouse in Istanbul, the Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said in a social media post that[b] it was a terrorist attack targeting a checkpoint outside “Gate C” of the massive courthouse complex informally known as “Çağlayan Courthouse.” He identified the assailants by their initials, E.Y. and P.B., a man and a woman, and said both were members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).[/b]

Three policemen and three civilians in the area were injured in the attack, but one of the injured later died in the hospital.

“Timely intervention by security forces thwarted the treacherous attack,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan separately said as he spoke at a ceremony in the earthquake-hit Kahramanmaraş province.

The incident comes months after a similar attack in front of the police headquarters in the capital Ankara in October last year, which PKK terrorists had claimed.

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“Türkiye will continue its decisive fight against all terror groups and their supporters without discrimination,” Erdoğan assured.

Footage from the scene circulated on social media showed two motionless bodies lying on the ground in the wide square outside the courthouse. Other footage showed people taking cover inside the building, which houses multiple courtrooms. The courthouse building was sealed off for hours following the attack.

The building’s formal name is the “Mehmet Selim Kiraz Compound,” and it was named after a prosecutor who was killed by DHKP-C terrorists who took him hostage for hours on March 31, 2015. Serving mainly Istanbul’s European side, it is one of the busiest places of its kind and was hosting a large crowd when the attackers apparently tried to force their way inside on Tuesday morning.

Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç said prosecutors launched an investigation into the attack. Media outlets reported that one of the terrorists fired at the security checkpoint and ran toward the public space in front of the building. The other terrorist produced a gun from her handbag and repeatedly fired at police officers at the checkpoint.

The DHKP-C is listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the U.S. and the European Union. The terrorist group pursues a far-left ideology and has been actively carrying out attacks and assassinations in the country since the 1980s, but its campaign of violence hit a snag when faced with Türkiye’s barrage of counterterrorism operations. The DHKP-C’s most high-profile attacks include a suicide bombing that targeted the U.S. Embassy in the capital Ankara in 2013 and the killing of prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz. It was also responsible for the assassination of Özdemir Sabancı, a tycoon who was a member of the prominent business dynasty Sabancı, in 1996.

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The group has become less active in the country in recent years but remains a major security threat. The DHKP-C, which operated under the name “Dev Sol” until 1994, claimed responsibility for a series of high-profile murders, including the assassination of nationalist politician Gün Sazak and former Prime Minister Nihat Erim in 1980. The group also killed several Turkish intelligence officers. In 1994, the DHKP-C was founded after Dev Sol splintered.

The group’s terror activities remained relatively minor compared to the PKK, another terrorist group targeting Türkiye. The DHKP-C attempted to stage a bloody comeback in recent years by carrying out attacks against the police. In 2012, about 10 years after its last known lethal attack in Türkiye, the DHKP-C conducted a suicide bombing at a police station in Istanbul, killing a police officer. After the February 2013 attack on the U.S. Embassy, it launched rocket attacks against the Ministry of Justice in Ankara and the headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in March 2013. In September 2013, the DHKP-C claimed responsibility for a rocket attack against the headquarters of the Turkish police in the capital. No casualties were reported in the three attacks.

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Türkiye has begun to emerge from a violent spell that started a decade ago when it was hit by repeated bombings and other attacks linked to Daesh and the PKK. Although those attacks have largely died down thanks to counterterrorism operations, both Istanbul and the capital Ankara remain on high alert.

Last month, one man was shot dead by two gunmen who opened fire inside a Catholic church in Istanbul. The attack was blamed on Daesh and authorities rounded up a large number of Daesh suspects following the attack.

In October, two assailants injured two police officers in an attack on the government district in the capital Ankara that was claimed by the PKK. Türkiye responded by stepping up air strikes against PKK targets in Syria and Iraq.