Al-Qaeda Offshoot Seizes Turkish Diplomats in Iraq, NTV Says

Members of an al-Qaeda offshoot stormed the Turkish consulate in Iraq’s second-largest city, taking dozens hostage a day after seizing control of the town, Turkish NTV television reported.

Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant entered the consulate in the northern city of Mosul “with a bomb threat” today and didn’t encounter resistance, NTV reported, without saying how it obtained the information. They seized 48 people, including Consul-General Ozturk Yilmaz and about 15 Turkish police officers guarding the mission, NTV said.

Iraq’s Nineveh Governor Athil al-Nujaifi said in a phone interview with Bloomberg HT television that militants entered the consulate. About 900 men attacked the mission, Turkey’s pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper reported.

The raid on the embassy came as Iraqi forces sought to beat back the guerrillas, who in the past two days have claimed Mosul and a town north of Baghdad, Baiji, that’s home to Iraq’s largest refinery.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened an emergency meeting with intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and senior military officers. Erdogan’s office said in a statement that steps to address “developments in Mosul” were discussed at the meeting, without confirming the attack on the mission. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu cut short a New York trip to return to Turkey.

Turkish shares extended their fall on reports of the Mosul attack, trading 3.7 percent lower at 78,664.56 at 4:46 p.m., the biggest such drop since Dec. 25 last year. The lira fell 1.3 percent to 2.1073 per dollar to become the worst performing emerging market currency, according to data on Bloomberg.

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