Suspected ISIS Suicide Bombers Kill 41 at Istanbul Airport
Three attackers opened fire near an entry point to the terminal and blew themselves up after police fired at them.
- Three suicide bombers opened fire at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport before blowing themselves up.
- 41 dead and 239 wounded in the blasts.
- All flights have been suspended.
- Passengers have been transferred to hotels.
- Tourists advised to remain alert in crowded areas.
Three suicide bombers opened fire before blowing themselves up at the entrance to the main international airport in Istanbul late on Tuesday at 10 pm local time (12:30 am IST).
Citing Turkish Justice Minister, Turkish broadcaster Haberturk said 36 people were killed in the attack while 147 people were left injured.
Later in the day, death toll rose to 41 while 236 were reportedly injured with 41 of them in intensive care.
The terrorists blew themselves up when police fired shots at them right before they reached a security checkpoint at the arrivals hall of the Ataturk airport, officials said.
A police officer wrestled one of the suicide bombers to the ground before he detonated his bomb, an NBC News reporter said on Twitter, citing an eyewitness to the event.
Passengers were seen running to their safety in the state of panic after the attack.
No Outfit Has Claimed Responsibility Yet, ISIS Involvement Assumed
Citing police sources, Turkey’s Dogan news agency said that the initial indications suggest that Islamic State is behind the attack. So far, no group has claimed responsibility for it. Sources said that Turkish President Erodgan held an emergency meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister and Head of Armed Forces at the presidential palace after the blast.
Majority of the Dead Turks and Not Foreigners
Initial reports claimed that there was a single terrorist and one explosion. Speaking in the parliament on the blast, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said:
According to information I have received, at the entrance to the Ataturk Airport international terminal a terrorist first opened fire with a Kalashnikov and then blew himself up.
However, soon the official reports confirmed the second blast as well.
Istanbul’s governor told the Turkish media that the incident left 28 people dead, and according to hospital records around 106 were wounded.
Official sources confirmed that the majority of the casualties include Turks and foreigners.
Watch: People Flee the Airport in Panic
Remain Vigilant in Crowded Places: Turkish Government
The Foreign Office advised tourists to take extra safety precaution.
You should be alert to your surroundings and remain vigilant in crowded places popular with tourists. Be vigilant, follow the advice of local security authorities, monitor media reports and keep up to date with this travel advice.Turkish Government Advice
Take-off Suspended as Taxis Ferry the Wounded
Ataturk is Turkey’s largest airport, and a major transport hub for international travellers. One witness told CNN Turk that gunfire was heard from the car park at the airport.
Taxis were ferrying wounded people from the airport, the witness said, as authorities halted the take-off of scheduled flights from the airport.
Others were diverted while passengers were transferred to hotels, a Turkish Airlines official said.
Not the First Attack of its Kind in Turkey
Turkey has suffered a spate of bombings this year, including two suicide attacks in tourist areas of Istanbul blamed on Islamic State, and two car bombings in the capital, Ankara, which were claimed by a Kurdish militant group.
In the most recent attack, a car bomb ripped through a police bus in central Istanbul during the morning rush hour, killing 11 people and wounding 36 near the main tourist district, a major university and the mayor’s office.
Turkey, which is part of the US-led coalition against Islamic State, is also fighting Kurdish militants in its largely Kurdish southeast.
(With agency inputs.)
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