The Russian ambassador to Turkey was fatally shot at a speaking engagement on Monday in what appears to be an assassination over Moscow’s intervention in Syria.
The gunman, wearing a suit and tie, reportedly shouted “Allahu akbar” – a frequent exclamation among Muslims giving praise to God – and “Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria!” before firing at least eight shots at Ambassador Andrei Karlov while he was delivering an address at an event sponsored by the embassy in downtown Ankara, according to The Associated Press.
Last year, Russia began an armed intervention in Syria in support of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The campaign to retake Aleppo, the opposition movement’s former stronghold, ended last week as regime forces with Russian and Syrian air support eliminated the remaining rebel positions.
In a video circulating online, the man shouts “Get back!” in Turkish as he waves the gun, according to CNN. “Only death will remove me from here. Everyone who has taken part in this oppression will one by one pay for it.”
Disturbing photos of the incident show the gunman in the same frame as the ambassador, taken before another showing the attacker waving the murder weapon in the air in front of Karlov’s body.
Police officers responding to the scene shot the gunman, who was not immediately identified. Three others were injured in the incident, according to private broadcaster NTV.
Turkish news service Hurriyet reports the gunman fired first into the air and later shot the ambassador in the back.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was informed about the attack after Karlov was rushed to the hospital, according to a report from Russian state news service Tass.
“Today, an unidentified person opened sporadic fire during a public event,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters, according to Tass.
The U.S. State Department reported a shooting near the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, and in a tweet advised American citizens to avoid the area around the building. It did not indicate whether that shooting was the same event in which Karlov died.