- 36 dead and nearly 150 wounded
- Suicide attackers open fire before detonating bombs
- ISIL suspected
Multiple suicide bomb and gun attacks on Istanbul’s Ataturk international airport have left at least 36 dead and nearly 150 others wounded.
Three attackers opened fire near an entrance to the terminal, randomly shooting at people in the departures hall, before blowing themselves up near arrivals on the floor below.
Police had shot at two of the attackers to try to stop them just before they reached a security checkpoint.
“I was getting my three suitcases wrapped when I heard the blast,” said one traveller. “Police told us to lie down. The wrapping machine’s steel case protected us from getting caught in the crossfire. Someone next to us got shot, then we saw the bomb in the x-ray explode. Everybody around it died in that blast.”
Most of those who died were Turkish nationals but foreigners were also among th dead and injured.
Urgent messages went out for blood donations as the dead and injured were ferried to nearby hospitals.
No security laspe
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim who immediately went to the airport told reporters the fact that the bombers were also carrying automatic rifles increased the gravity of the situation.
“Our security forces’ investigations indicate that the terror attack was carried out by ISIL. (…)There was no security gap (at the airport).”
Ataturk is Turkey’s largest airport and a major transport hub for travellers from around the world.The attack on Europe’s third-busiest airport is one of the deadliest in a series of suicide bombings in Turkey, which is struggling to contain the spillover from neighbouring Syria’s civil war and battling an insurgency by Kurdish militants in its southeast.