39 killed as suspected ISIS bombers strike Istanbul airport
At least 36 people are feared killed and 239 others were injured in three explosions that rocked Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on Tuesday.
Three suicide attackers who began shooting at the guards at the airport entrance exploded themselves at 10 pm , local time.
The deadly strike has forced suspension of all flights at one of Europe’s busiest airports.
Hundreds of passengers streamed out of the airport soon after the attack. Most of them were stranded in the lawns as ambulances were the only vehicles allowed into the airport area.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility of the attack, but Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Wednesday that initial evidence indicated that ISIS was behind the triple bombings.
A majority of casualties are Turkish citizens, with foreigners among the dead and wounded, an unnamed official was quoted as saying by a Turkish news outlet. The police have closed the entry and exit gates of the airport, and inbound flights to the airport have been diverted to capital Ankara and other cities in the aftermath of the bombing.
“There was a lot of blood. and there was so much glass on the floor they were scuffing it aside so we didn’t slip,” Sue Savage, who had gone to drop a friend at the airport was quoted as saying by CNN.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a”joint fight” against terror after the attack.
“The bombs that exploded in Istanbul today could have gone off at any airport in any city around the world,” Erdogan said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Colorado that officials were trying to figure out who attacked the Ataturk airport in Istanbul and what exactly happened.
This is fourth attack in Turkey this year. Most of these has been blamed on ISIS or Kurdish militants.
Tourist arrivals have fallen to 45 percent after the recent spate of attacks.
“US citizens should exercise heightened vigilance and caution while visiting public access areas, especially those heavily frequented by tourists,” a US state department travel advisory for Turkey, originally issued in March and updated on Monday cautioned.
Timeline of Recent Attacks in Turkey
Seven police officers and four civilians were killed in a car bomb attack on June 7 killed. The attacks were claimed by Kurdish militant group TAK.
ISIS was blamed for a suicide attack in the heart of a shopping street that killed three Israelis and an Iranian on 19 March.
A car bombing which killed 34 in Ankara 0n 13 March was claimed by TAK.
The Kurdish militant group had claimed responsibility for the atacks on military buses that killed 29 people on 17 February.
A dozen Germans were killed by a Syrian bomber in a tourist district in January.
An explosion on the tarmac of Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport killed a cleaner and wounded another. The attack which damaged several planes were claimed by TAK.