10 dead as twin suicide bombings rock Istanbul’s Ataturk airport
At least 20 people hurt; video emerges of panicked bystanders fleeing; Israeli officials say no sign that Israelis were hurt
Turkish officials said 10 people were killed and between 20 and 40 injured when two suicide bombers blew up at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport late Tuesday local time.
Turkish media said the bombers opened fire at Ataturk’s international terminal, then detonated their explosives after police began firing back at them.
Turkey’s state-run news agency quoted Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag as saying: “According to the information I was given, a terrorist at the international terminal entrance first opened fire with a Kalashnikov and then blew himself up. We have around 10 martyrs (dead) and around 20 wounded.”
A second official said there were two attackers, and each detonated an explosive device at or near the entrance to the airport’s international terminal before entering the x-ray security check. Turkish airports have security checks at both at the entrance of terminal buildings and then later before entry to departure gates.
Israeli diplomats who rushed to the hospital to which the victims were taken reported that no Israeli tourists were known to have been hurt in the attack. Earlier, in the immediate aftermath of the explosions, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said all its diplomats who were at the airport at the time of the blast were accounted for and unharmed.
Ministry officials are continuing to search for possible Israeli victims affected by the attack.
All air travel in and out of Ataturk, Turkey’s largest airport, was stopped in the aftermath of the attack. There is no immediate word on when air traffic may be resumed.
More than a dozen ambulances raced to the international terminal moments after the explosions, CNN-Turk reported.
The channel cited witnesses who said they saw panic among passengers. “It was very strong, everyone panicked and started running in all directions,” one witness told CNN-Turk.
Police set up a perimeter around the site, television images showed.
Footage and reports from the scene showed frightened bystanders and damage to airport facilities.
Footage emerges from inside Istanbul's main airport, where two explosions have reportedly wounded several people pic.twitter.com/pG4J58uoB4
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Turkey has suffered several bombings in recent months linked to Kurdish separatists or Islamic State jihadists. An attack on a pedestrian boardwalk in Istanbul in March left three Israelis dead — Yonathan Suher, 40, Simha Dimri, 60, and Avraham Goldman, 69 — and several more injured.
Authorities blamed that bombing and another that targeted tourists in Istanbul in April on the Islamic State group.
The attacks have increased in scale and frequency, scaring off tourists and hurting the economy, which relies heavily on tourism revenues.