|Security door blown out of concrete wall|
The New York Times had good coverage of today's tragic attack in Ankara which took the life of one of the embassy's local guards:
News photographs of the explosion site showed extensive damage to a squat one-story building just inside the compound where visitors are checked by security guards and an X-ray machine. Turkish news media said preliminary investigations by security officials said the bomber might have detonated a suicide belt prematurely as he was going through security controls. NTV, a private television broadcaster, said embassy security cameras had shown the assailant entering and panicking as he walked through an X-ray machine.
The other fatality in the blast was identified as Mustafa Akarsu, 47, one of the Turkish security guards at the embassy.
That "squat one-story building" is shown in the photo above. Notice that the building's heavy steel security door was blown partly out of the surrounding concrete wall by the force of the blast, and that the adjacent security windows are damaged but still intact. That tells the story - the hardened building in which visitors are screened contained the bomb blast, preventing what would most likely have been greater loss of life and injuries to embassy employees and visitors.
The State Department spokeswoman noted just that in her remarks quoted in the WaPo:
“The level of security protection at our facility in Ankara ensured that there were not significantly more deaths and injuries than there could have been,” Nuland told reporters in Washington.
“This is one of the compounds where we have been making steady security upgrades over the last decade,” Nuland said. “And in fact, the attack was at one of the exterior compound access sites. So it was far from the main building, and it was a result of the way that was hardened that we only lost the one local security guard. And in fact, there were other security guards inside the building behind the glass who were only shaken up by this.”
It will be no consolation to the family and friends of Mustafa Akarsu, but the Department can take some satisfaction from knowing that its security upgrades minimized the damage today.