ISIS behind airport attack
Suicide bombings blamed on extremists
The Turkish government has blamed the suicide attacks at Ataturk Airport on ISIS.
Attackers armed with guns and bombs killed at least 41 people at Istanbul’s busy airport.
Travellers and airport workers described scenes of chaos on Tuesday night as gunfire and explosions rang out. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said ISIS was behind the attack.
Airport surveillance video posted on social media appeared to show the moment of one explosion, a ball of fire that sent terrified passengers racing for safety. Another appeared to show an attacker, felled by a gunshot from a security officer, blowing himself up seconds later. A growing stream of travellers, some pulling suitcases behind them, fled down a corridor, looking fearfully over their shoulders.
“Four people fell in front of me. They were torn into pieces,” said airport worker Hacer Peksen.
The victims included at least 23 Turkish citizens and 13 foreigners. The death toll excluded the three bombers, who arrived in a taxi and eventually blew themselves up after coming under fire, according to the government, though there were conflicting reports about exactly where they detonated their explosives.
The Istanbul governor’s office said more than 230 people were wounded.
By late yesterday, ISIS had not claimed responsibility for the attack, although it did issue an infographic celebrating two years since announcing a caliphate. It claimed to have “covert units” in Turkey, among other places, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.
Turkey has suffered a series of attacks of increasing frequency that have scared away visitors and devastated its economy, which relies heavily on tourism. The country is a key partner in the US-led coalition against the ISIS group and a NATO member.
Incidents included an attack in January blamed on ISIS that claimed the lives of a dozen German tourists visiting Istanbul’s historic sites and a suicide bombing in March that rocked Istanbul’s main pedestrian street, killing five people, including the bomber.
ON ALERT: Security was high as the airport got back to business yesterday