Turkey: 36 killed in explosions at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul

Turkey: 36 killed in explosions at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul

At least 36 people were killed and 147 others injured in a terror attack on the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul.

The attackers opened fire at airport guards at the terminal entrance and a shootout erupted before they blew themselves up one by one at around 10pm, authorities said.

Security camera footage appeared to capture two of the blasts. In one clip a huge ball of flame erupts at an entrance to the terminal building, scattering terrified passengers.

Another video shows a black-clad attacker running inside the building before collapsing to the ground – apparently felled by a police bullet – and blowing himself up.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion fell on the Islamic State (ISIS) or the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Gov. Vasip Sahin said law enforcement was evaluating the possible involvement of three suicide bombers blowing themselves up at the entrance to the international terminal at the airport after police fired at them.

“Entry and exit of passengers will be returned to normal rapidly and scheduled flights will be started as soon as possible,” the governor said.

Separately, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the terror attack with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Hulusi Akar, Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, at the Presidential Palace, according to presidential sources.

Police and medical teams are at the scene and access to and from the airport has been blocked.

Yildirim was briefed by Interior Minister Efkan Ala and Sahin and has ordered the formation of a crisis desk.

Huseyin Tombul, who witnessed that attack, said the explosion occurred while he was waiting at the airport’s arrivals Gate A.

He said after the explosion they were sheltered at the garage. “A second explosion happened at Gate B. Four of my friends lost their lives. There are lots of wounded,” he added.

Meanwhile, Yildirim arrived at the airport to brief the media on the latest developments.



Terrorist attacks in Turley

Images from local television showed people running away from the airport as injured were ferried away in taxis and ambulances.

One of the attackers “randomly opened fire” as he walked through the terminal building, shortly before three explosions, a witness told Reuters.

“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,” said Paul Roos, 77, a South African tourist on his way back to Cape Town with his wife.

“We ducked behind a counter but I stood up and watched him. Two explosions went off shortly after one another. By that time he had stopped shooting,” Roos 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.”

Ataturk Airport is one of the busiest ports in the world serving more than 60 million passengers in 2015.

All outbound flights have been cancelled, while most of the inbound flights have been diverted. Planes already approaching the airport were allowed to land.

There has been a string of bombings around Turkey over the past year, some of them blamed on ISIL, others claimed by Kurdish fighters.

Earlier in June, at least 11 people were killed in central Istanbul following a bombing attack targeting a police vehicle. The armed group Kurdistan Freedom Hawks, also known by its Kurdish-language acronym TAK, claimed responsibility for that attack.

Turkey: 36 killed in explosions at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul

Turkey: 36 killed in explosions at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul

Turkey: 36 killed in explosions at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul