Turkey police kill two 'women militants' amid Istanbul attack

media captionFemale Turkish militants attack police before shootout

Two women who attacked police with gunfire and a grenade before hiding in a building in the Turkish city of Istanbul have been killed, the city's governor has said.

A statement on a website close to the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) said it carried out the attack.

The two women died in a shootout with police after hiding in the building in Bayrampasa district, officials said.

Two policemen were hurt in the attack.

The women had earlier opened fire at a riot police station in Bayrampasa, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.

The statement on the website hailed the "brave female liberation fighters".

image copyrightAFP
image captionPolice were quick to take action against the two women
image copyrightAFP
image captionPlain clothed policemen were at the forefront of the clashes with the two militants

The extreme-left DHKP-C has waged a violent campaign for more than three decades.

Turkey says the group has killed dozens of police officers and soldiers along with scores of civilians since it was formed in 1978 with the aim of replacing the Turkish government with a Marxist one.

It also opposes what it calls US imperialism and has several times targeted US military personnel and diplomatic missions.

Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said an investigation into Thursday's attack was under way.

image copyrightAP
image captionThe security forces surrounded the area in Bayrampasa district where the two women took refuge
image copyrightAP
image captionThe security forces have been on high alert following recent attacks

Both Kurdish rebels and far-left militants have attacked police in Istanbul in the past.

Thursday's attack comes amid a rise in violence in Turkey since mid-2015.

In November Kurdish PKK rebels said they would resume fighting against the army, ending a unilateral ceasefire that over the past three decades has killed tens of thousands of people.

Recent attacks in Turkey

  • February 2016: At least 28 people killed when a vehicle full of explosives was detonated as military buses were passing by in the capital, Ankara. Security sources blamed both so-called Islamic State (IS) and militants from the banned PKK
  • January 2016: At least 10 people, mostly German tourists, are killed in a suspected IS suicide bombing in Istanbul
  • October 2015: More than a hundred people are killed in a double-suicide bombing at a Kurdish peace rally in Ankara
  • July 2015: In the predominantly Kurdish town of Suruc, near the Syrian border, over 30 people are killed in a suicide bombing, again blamed on IS

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