Istanbul: Dozens of people were killed and injured when a triple suicide attack hit the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, carrying the fingerprints of the terrorist ISIS group.
Yesterday night, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyib Erdogan strongly condemned the attack while authorities cancelled flights in Turkey’s biggest airport.
Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin told reporters that “three suicide bombers were responsible for the attack which killed 28 people and injured another 60,” according to yesterday night’s primary results.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag was reported saying he was sorry for those who lost their lives. He said 10 people were killed and around 20 were injured. However, the state-run Anadolu News Agency reported that around 60 people were injured including six in critical conditions. Turkish authorities said most of the victims were Turks.
No group has yet claimed responsibility. Bozdag told CNN Turk television that according to information he received, “a terrorist suicide bomber had first opened fire with a Kalashnikov rifle at the entrance of the international arrival terminal, before detonating himself.”
Other officials and witnesses said that two suicide bombers had opened fire then blew themselves up at the main entrance of the airport in Istanbul, killing and injuring tens of people.
Another official said Turkish police had fired shots trying to stop attackers before reaching the security checkpoint at the arrival hall; however, they had blown themselves up.
Following the attacks, tens of ambulance cars were seen rushing to the airport. Witnesses said they heard two loud explosions, which rocked the station and drove fears among passengers. A witness said: “The explosion was very strong, everyone panicked and started running in all directions.” Security officials had cordoned off the place.
Ataturk is Turkey’s biggest airports and is considered a major transport hub for international travelers, receiving around 25 million. The airport is located in the European part of Istanbul and is the one of the busiest airports worldwide.
Another airport is found in the Asian part of the city, which includes a population of 15 million.
An officer at the Turkish Airlines said that authorities halted the takeoffs of scheduled flights while some flights to the airport had been earlier diverted.
Turkey had witnessed a series of explosions this year, including two suicide attacks in tourist areas of Istanbul blamed on ISIS, and two car bombings in the capital, Ankara.
In the latest terrorist attack in Turkey, a car bomb ripped through a police bus during the morning rush hour, killing 11 people and wounding 36, near a main tourist district, a major university and the mayor’s office.
Turkey, which is part of the U.S.-led coalition against the ISIS, is also fighting Kurdish militants in its largest Kurdish southeast area.