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Assailant killed in clash with police in Istanbul

(Xinhua)

19:15, November 30, 2011

ISTANBUL, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- An unidentified assailant who opened fire with a pump-action rifle and wounded three people in a tourist district of Istanbul was killed Wednesday in a clash with police, local media reported.

Three people, a police officer, a soldier and a tourist, were wounded Wednesday by the unidentified man at the historic Sultanahmet Square in Turkey's largest city of Istanbul, the reports said.

Witnesses said that the shooter threatened the soldier on duty at the Topkapi Palace gates with his weapon and took the soldier's G3 army gun. He then began shooting.

Security forces surrounded and emptied the square after the incident. The shooter clashed with the security forces for about an hour at Topkapi Palace, according to the reports.

However, it was not immediately possible to verify the identity or the motive of the assailant.

Istanbul Police Director Huseyin Capkin said the assailant was most probably a foreigner.

According to the witnesses, the assailant shouted "Allahu Akbar " (God is great) and said in Arabic that he was from Syria, raising suspicions that the incident could be linked to political tensions between Turkey and Syria.

An ambulance has arrived outside the Topkapi Palace area. Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu said that local authorities will make a statement on the assailant's identity and motive after an investigation. He earlier said his motive appeared to be " personal."

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