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Turkish Official: US Embassy Bomber had Previous Terror Conviction, Took Part in Hunger Strike

turkeyANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Turkish official says a suicide bomber who struck the American Embassy in Ankara spent four years in prison on terrorism charges before being released for a brain disorder contracted while on hunger strike.

The 40-year-old bomber, Ecevit Sanli, killed himself and a Turkish security guard on Friday in an attack Turkish officials blamed on domestic leftist militants. It was the second deadly assault on a U.S. diplomatic post in five months.

The official said Saturday that Sanli was arrested in 1997 for membership in the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, and took part in a major hunger strike that led to the deaths of dozens of inmates.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because government rules bar civil servants from speaking to journalists without authorization.