Suicide blasts kill dozens at Istanbul airport

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

 

ISTANBUL (AP) — Suicide attackers killed dozens and wounded more than 140 at Istanbul's busy Ataturk Airport, the latest in a series of bombings to strike Turkey in recent months. Turkish officials said the massacre was most likely the work of the Islamic State group.

 

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said 36 people died Tuesday as well as the three suicide bombers, who arrived at the airport in a taxi and blew themselves up after opening fire. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said 147 were wounded.

Yildirim said in a press statement early Wednesday that air traffic had returned to normal and "our airport has been opened to flights and departures from 02:20 (local time) on."

There were conflicting accounts of the attack.

 

A Turkish official said authorities are going through CCTV footage and witness statements to establish a preliminary timeline and details of the attack. "It is a jigsaw puzzle" said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol.

 

The Haber Turk newspaper reported that one attacker blew himself up outside the terminal, then two others opened fire at the point where the X-ray machines are. One attacker was shot at while running amid fleeing passengers, then blew himself up at the exit. The third attacker went up one level to where the international departures terminal is, was shot by police and blew himself up.

 

Airport surveillance video posted on social media showed the moment of one blast, a huge ball of fire, and passengers fleeing in terror. Another appeared to show an attacker, felled by a gunshot from a security officer, blowing himself up seconds later.

 

The recent attacks on a key partner in the U.S.-led coalition against IS and a NATO member have increased in scale and frequency. They have scared away tourists and hurt the Turkish economy, which relies heavily on tourism.

As dawn broke over the destroyed terminal, workers began removing debris left by the blast. The airport partially reopened, but an information board inside showed that about one-third of scheduled flights had been canceled, with a host of others delayed.

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