Russia's ambassador to Turkey has died after he was shot Monday evening at an art exhibition in the capital, Ankara, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in comments broadcast on Russian state television.
Ambassador Andrei Karlov was shot "multiple times" by an armed assailant as he was "delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of a photo exhibit," Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
An Associated Press photographer at the scene said the attacker wore a suit and tie and shouted "Allahu Akhbar" as he fired "at least eight shots."
The man also shouted "Don't forget Aleppo! Don't forget Syria!" in Turkish, the wire service added. He then yelled: "Stand back! Stand back! Only death will take me out of here. Anyone who has a role in this oppression will die one by one."
The assailant "smashed several of the photos hung for the exhibition. There was panic as people ran for cover," according to the AP photographer's account.
Special forces "neutralized" the attacker at the scene, Anadolu reported, without elaborating on what it meant by "neutralized," the identity of the assailant or a possible motive.
The attack happened at the opening of a photo exhibition titled, "Russia as Seen by the Turks," according to Russia's state-run TASS news agency.
Russia is a close ally of the neighboring Syrian regime and is involved in a wide-ranging airstrikes campaign in Syria.
The local Hurriyet newspaper posted an image of multiple people lying on the floor at what appears to be a gallery that it says is from the immediate aftermath of the attack.
After he was shot, Karlov was transported to a hospital, according to Anadolu.
Karlov became ambassador to Turkey in 2013 and is a career diplomat, having served since 1976, the AP reported. "He served as Russia's ambassador to Pyongyang in 2001-2006, and later worked as the chief of the Foreign Ministry's consular department," the wire service added.
U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby tweeted, "We condemn this act of violence, whatever its source. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families."
This is a developing story. Some things that get reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.