Home Breaking News Mehmet Selim Kiraz hostage crisis: Prosecutor badly wounded and gunmen killed

Mehmet Selim Kiraz hostage crisis: Prosecutor badly wounded and gunmen killed

Turkish prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz has been badly wounded and two gunmen who took him hostage killed after a shootout at a courthouse in Istanbul, officials say.

Gunshots were heard and smoke was seen rising from the scene, after special forces reportedly entered the building.

Mehmet Selim Kiraz was apparently taken hostage because he had headed an inquiry into the death of teenager Berkin Elvan during anti-government protests in 2013.

A banned Marxist revolutionary group is said to be behind the incident.

A statement posted online had said Mehmet Selim Kiraz would be killed if the group’s demands were not met.

Istanbul’s police chief Selami Altunok said that police had negotiated with the gunmen for six hours, but eventually stormed the courthouse “because of gunshots heard from inside the prosecutor’s office”.Mehmet Selim Kiraz hostage crisis

“Our prosecutor is in hospital and seriously wounded,” he said, adding that he would require an operation.

The gunmen had released dramatic images of a gun being held to the head of Mehmet Selim Kiraz as the hostage crisis unfolded.

The Turkish government banned live TV coverage of the incident, citing security concerns.

Sukriye Erden, a lawyer negotiating with the hostage takers, said they had demanded that the police announce the names of four members of the security services whom they said were connected to the death of Berkin Elvan.

Berkin Elvan, who was then 14, was struck in the head by a police tear gas canister in June 2013 as he went to buy bread during mass demonstrations that began in Istanbul and spread across Turkey.

He died in an Istanbul hospital last year, after spending nine months in a coma.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, now Turkey’s president, inflamed passions shortly after the teenager’s death when he said the boy had been carrying a slingshot and had been “taken up into terrorist organiations”.

Suspected members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) took the prosecutor hostage on the sixth floor of the Caglayan court house, reports said.

The DHKP-C is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and US. It said it carried out a suicide bombing in February 2013 at the US embassy in Ankara, where a security guard was killed.

In January, a man linked to the banned Marxist group was arrested near the prime minister’s offices in Istanbul, reportedly after throwing two grenades that failed to explode.

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