Thursday 18 January 2018

28 killed as three suicide bombers attack airport

Forensic experts work outside Turkey's largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk, Turkey Picture: Reuters
Forensic experts work outside Turkey's largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk, Turkey Picture: Reuters

Twenty-eight people have been killed and 60 injured in an attack at Istanbul's Ataturk airport.

The city's governor, Vasip Sahin, told Turkey's NTV television that three suicide bombers carried out the attack.

Officials previously said one or two attackers had blown themselves up at the entrance to the international terminal after police fired at them.

Hundreds of passengers were stranded outside the airport entrance, a five-minute drive outside the international departure area.

"A man ran up and ripped open his jacket, showing a bomb vest," said Veysel Allay, who was waiting for a friend at arrivals. "I ran before he did anything."

"I was at arrivals and heard an explosion, everybody ran. Everybody panicked," said 16-year-old Mercan Usul, who arrived from Düsseldorf to meet her aunt. Police sources cited in Turkish media say they believe the attackers were affiliated with the Islamic State (IS).

The methods behind the attack and the fact that tourists may have been targeted led to initial speculation that IS was involved - though this has not been confirmed.

Witness Ercan Ceyhan told CNN-Turk that he saw some 30 ambulances enter the airport. The private DHA news agency said the wounded, among them police officers, were being transferred to Bakirkoy State Hospital. Witnesses told CNN that taxis were ferrying wounded to the hospital. Meanwhile reports said that scheduled flights were being grounded and that passengers were being taken to local hotels.

In December, an explosion on the tarmac at Sabiha Gokcen airport in Istanbul killed a cleaner. Over the last few months Turkey has suffered a number of bombings linked to Kurdish rebel groups and Isis.


Ataturk airport is the third busiest European airport after London Heathrow and Paris's Charles De Gaulle. Turkey has suffered several bombings in recent months linked to Kurdish or Islamic State (IS) militants.

The bombings included two in Istanbul targeting tourists which the authorities have blamed on the IS group.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, has held an emergency meeting with the country's prime minister and top military official.

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