Deadly Suicide Bombings Hit Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport
“We were in a pool of blood,” an eyewitness said.
Nick Robins & Sophia Jones
The Huffington Post
- At least 36 people are dead and 150 wounded after three suicide bombers attacked the airport.
- Many of the victims appeared to be Turkish, although some foreigners were harmed in the attack.
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on world leaders to “take a firm stance against terrorism.”
- The FAA has beefed up security at U.S. airports.
ISTANBUL — Three suicide bombers attacked Istanbul Ataturk Airport late Tuesday evening, killing at least 36 people, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said. Initial government assessments suggest the self-described Islamic State was responsible, Yildirim told reporters.
Close to 150 people were also wounded in the attacks, officials said.
Police shot at the attackers outside the security gate of the airport’s international terminal, a senior Turkish official told The WorldPost. The attackers did not make it through the security gate before detonating their explosives.
“Police fired shots at suspects at the international terminal’s entry, before security check, in an effort to neutralize them,” the official said.
Video on social media appeared to show surveillance footage of one explosion:
Graphic images showed bloodied victims lying on the ground outside the terminal, where yellow taxis normally line up to shuttle travelers into the city.
The eyewitness described the explosions as “very violent,” saying, “We were in a pool of blood.”
Most of the victims appear to have been Turkish, a source told HuffPost Arabi. Many of the injured were brought to the nearby government-run Bakırköy hospital, where an enormous crowd of worried family and friends gathered outside.
Ataturk, Turkey’s largest airport, is the main international airport serving Istanbul. All flights were temporarily suspended at the airport in the wake of the attack, including those inbound from the U.S., and Facebook activated its Safety Check feature for the surrounding area. Flights to and from the airport have since resumed and American airports have increased security in response to the attacks,ABC News reported.
Dazed travelers in the airport’s domestic terminal made phone calls to loved ones and waited for information, according to one woman who was present.
At least some people inside the airport
Turkey has been reeling from months of attacks targeting both tourists and security forces. Self-described Islamic State militants have claimed credit for some of the bombings, while
Turkey began throttling access to news coverage just hours after the attack, a practice that has become common in recent months, watchdog groups said. The prime minister’s office issued the gag order to all media outlets, which banned the sharing of any visuals from the incident, according to Vocative. Both Facebook and Twitter experienced disruptions as well.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest responded to the attacks in a statement, saying, “