Istanbul Ataturk airport attack: At least 36 dead and dozens injured
A gun and bomb attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk international airport has killed 36 people and injured about 90.
Three attackers opened fire near an entry point to the terminal and blew themselves up after police fired at them, officials say.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said early signs suggested the so-called Islamic State was behind the attack.
Recent bombings in Turkey have been linked to either IS or Kurdish separatists.
Tuesday’s attack looks like a major co-ordinated assault, says the BBC’s Mark Lowen.
Ataturk airport was long seen as a vulnerable target, our Turkey correspondent adds, reporting from a plane stuck on the tarmac in Istanbul.
There are X-ray scanners at the entrance to the terminal but security checks for cars are limited.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attack should serve as a turning point in the global fight against militant groups.
“The bombs that exploded in Istanbul today could have gone off at any airport in any city around the world,” he said.
The US called the attack “heinous”, and said saying America remained “steadfast in our support for Turkey”.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: “We grieve for the victims. We stand by Turkey”.
- How dangerous is Turkey’s unrest?
- Turkey caught in overlapping security crises
- Country profile: Turkey
‘Dressed in black’
Speaking several hours after Tuesday’s attack, Mr Yildirim said at least 36 people were killed and many wounded, some seriously.
He also said foreigners were likely to be among the dead.
Footage has emerged on social media that appears to show a police officer shooting one of the attackers, who detonates a suicide belt as he is lying injured on the ground.
Flights in and out of the airport were suspended after the attack.
The US Federal Aviation Administration grounded all flights between the US and Istanbul.
Taxis were used to rush casualties to hospital after the attack.
Eyewitness Paul Roos told the Associated Press news agency that he was due to fly home to South Africa when the attackers struck.
“We came up from the arrivals to the departures, up the escalator when we heard these shots going off,” he said.
“There was this guy going roaming around, he was dressed in black and he had a handgun.”
Charles Michel, the Prime Minister of Belgium whose capital city was targeted by bombers in March, tweeted from the EU summit in Brussels: “Our thoughts are with the victims of the attacks at Istanbul’s airport. We condemn these atrocious acts of violence.”
In December, a blast on the tarmac at a different Istanbul airport, Sabiha Gokcen, killed a cleaner. That attack was claimed by a Kurdish group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK).
Major recent attacks
7 June, Istanbul: Car bomb kills seven police officers and four civilians. Claimed by Kurdish militant group TAK
19 March, Istanbul: Suicide bomb kills four people in shopping street. IS blamed.
13 March, Ankara: Car bomb kills 34. Claimed by TAK.
17 February, Ankara: 29 killed in attack on military busses. Claimed by TAK
12 January, Istanbul: 11 Germans killed by Syrian bomber in tourist area
23 December, Istanbul: Bomb kills cleaner at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport. Claimed by TAK
10 October, Ankara: More than 100 killed at peace rally outside railway station. Claimed by IS
20 July, Suruc, near Syrian border: 34 people killed in bombing in Kurdish town. IS blamed
Security concerns and a Russian boycott over last year’s downing of a Russian military jet on the Turkey-Syria border have hit the Turkish tourist sector this year.
More than 61 million passengers travelled through Ataturk airport in 2015.
A US state department travel warning for Turkey, originally published in March and updated on Monday, urges US citizens to “exercise heightened vigilance and caution when visiting public access areas, especially those heavily frequented by tourists.”
2016 Istanbul airport attack
On 28 June 2016, explosions and gunfire erupted at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey.According to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, at least 36 people were killed and 147 people were injured in addition to the attackers. The gunfire occurred at the airport’s parking lot, while the explosions occurred at the entrance to the international arrivals terminal and appear to have been caused by suicide bombers. Some reports state that the explosions occurred in different parts of the airport. our armed men were seen running away from the scene after the explosions
Passengers leave Ataturk airport in Istanbul on June 28, 2016 after two explosions
Turkey has been the victim of several terrorist attacks in 2016, including two suicide attacks (the January 2016 Istanbul bombing and the March 2016 Istanbul bombing) and two car bombings (the June 2016 Istanbul bombing and the June 2016 Midyat car bombing). The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the two suicide attacks, which were the seventh and eighth attack in Turkey and the fourth in Istanbul in 2016. Two of these attacks, in Ankara in February and March that killed dozens, were claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), described as a “radical splinter group of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party(PKK)”.
Turkish rescue services members help a wounded person outside Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.
Shortly before 10 p.m. Istanbul time two assailants approached the x-ray scanner at a security checkpoint, and opened fire. Then police officers started firing. The assailants then detonated bombs on their person.
Based on security camera video, one of the bombers was about 80 feet or 24.4 meters inside terminal 2, the Internationalterminal, when he bomber detonated his suicide bomb. In the CCTV video the explosion can be seen within or near a group of people. It is also believed that one of the explosions was in the parking lot across the street of the terminal.
EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT – Turkish forensic police officers work at the scene of a blast
A video posted on Twitter soon after the incident clearly shows an armed assailant walking and firing at people within the terminal. The assailant is then shot by a security official—either Turkish police or airport security—at close range, and falls on the ground. The video shows the security officer first approaching the assailant, then running away as he presumably notices the explosives. The dying assailant then detonates his explosives.
During and immediately after the attacks hundreds of terrified passengers and people inside the airport hid anywhere they could in small shops, bathrooms and under benches.
Two of the attackers detonated explosive devices, killing themselves; three were killed, presumably by security forces. The fate of the others is currently unknown.
Turkish special forces members secure the area after a suicide bomb attack at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, 28 June 2016. SEDAT SUNA / EPA
Many travelers gave accounts of what they saw during the attack to reporters after the attack ended. One South African man stated, “We came right to international departures and saw the man randomly shooting. He was just firing at anyone coming in front of him. He was wearing all black. His face was not masked. I was 50 metres away from him.” He continued, “We ducked behind a ticket counter but I stood up and watched him. Two explosions went off shortly after one another. By that time he had stopped shooting. Lastly he said “He turned around and started coming towards us. He was holding his gun inside his jacket. He looked around anxiously to see if anyone was going to stop him and then went down the escalator … We heard some more gunfire and then another explosion, and then it was over.
Other people not yet in the terminal said that multiple taxicab drivers were screaming “Don’t enter! A bomb exploded!” from their windows to incoming traffic.
Following the blast, all departure flights were suspended but the arrival flights remained operational for some time until they were diverted. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levantis suspected of being behind the attack.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has released a statement condemning the attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, which took place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He says the attack “shows that terrorism strikes with no regard to faith and values,” calling on the international community to take a firm stand against terrorism and vowed to keep up Turkey’s struggle against terror groups. Erdogan also stated, “Turkey has the power, determination and capacity to continue the fight against terrorism until the end.
PHOTO: Crime scene investigators work next to a body after an attack at Ataturk Airport
ISTANBUL – Two suicide bombers opened fire before blowing themselves up at the entrance to the main international airport in Istanbul on Tuesday,
People stand outside the entrance as they leave the airport after two explosions followed
Turkish rescue services gather outside Istanbuls Ataturk airport, Tuesday, June 28, 2016
PHOTO: Passengers who survived the suicide bomb attack leave Turkeys largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk