Two deadly explosions at Istanbul’s Ataturk international airport killed 36 and injured more than 140 people. According to one senior Turkish official, the death toll might rise to 50.
Three terrorists armed with bombs and guns ran open fire near an entry point to the terminal. Security guards exchanged gunfire with two suspects carrying AK-47 rifles and both attackers detonated suicide bombs as they reached the first security checkpoint at the Ataturk airport. The third assailant detonated his explosives in the airport’s parking lot.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that early signs suggested the so-called Islamic State was behind the attack. And the recent bombings looked like a major co-ordinated assault which, could either be linked to IS or to Kurdish separatists.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded by urging Western countries to take a firm stance against terrorism.
The bombings created deadly carnage and the crowds were panic stricken.
Ataturk airport has been a vulnerable target for long. The X-ray scanners at the entrance to the terminal are there but the security checks for cars are limited.
Images from the terminal showed bodies covered in sheets, with glass and abandoned luggage littering the building.
Relatives of those missing gathered outside a local hospital where many victims were taken. Lack of information created anger and panic amongst many.
Flights were suspended after the attack, and with the US Federal Aviation Administration grounding all services between the US and Istanbul. The airport was closed overnight for several hours, and flights into the airport had been diverted to the capital of Ankara and other cities. Limited flights have now resumed at the airport.
Taxis and ambulances were used to rush casualties to hospital.
While no terrorist groups have claimed responsibility for the massacre, Turkish security forces believe Isis was behind the attacks.