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Clashes In Istanbul After Police Kill Courthouse Hostage-Takers

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Protesters clashed with Turkish police overnight in two Istanbul neighborhoods after far-left militants who took a prosecutor hostage in a courthouse were killed by security forces in an attempted rescue mission.

The two members of the banned Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) took prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz hostage on Tuesday as an act of revenge over a teenager's death during anti-government protests in 2013.

Kiraz, who was also killed in the rescue attempt, was leading an investigation into the death last March of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who died after nine months in a coma from a head wound sustained from a police gas canister.

Police used tear gas to break up protests in Okmeydani, Elvan's neighborhood in central Istanbul, the Radikal newspaper said on its website.

In the working-class Istanbul district of Gazi, scene of frequent clashes and where the group has sympathizers, police used tear gas and water cannon to stop protesters from marching on a police station, it said.

Elvan died during protests that began as an effort to save a park from development before swelling into the biggest anti-government movement in a generation. President Tayyip Erdogan has described Elvan as a “terrorists' pawn.”

The DHKP-C is a Marxist group formed in the late 1970s that has been behind a series of assassinations and suicide bombings, including fatal attacks on the U.S. Embassy. The Turkish police have been a frequent target too.

A website close to the group published a picture of the prosecutor with a gun to his head on Tuesday. Authorities tried to negotiate for Kiraz's release, but he was shot in the head and body and died of his wounds.