A suicide gun and bomb attack on Istanbul’s main airport, one of Europe’s busiest, has killed at least 32 people and injured 60 more.Three attackers were involved, with one reportedly firing a Kalashnikov as they targeted an entry point to Ataturk international airport.
Recent bombings in Turkey have been linked to either Kurdish separatists or the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.This looks like a major co-ordinated assault, the BBC’s Mark Lowen reports.
Ataturk airport was long seen as a vulnerable target, our Turkey correspondent adds, reporting from a plane stuck on the tarmac in Istanbul.
There are X-ray scanners at the entry to the terminal but security checks for cars are limited.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack, calling for a “joint fight” against terrorism.
Flights in and out of the airport were suspended after the attack.The US Federal Aviation Administration grounded all flights between the US and Istanbul, Reuters reports.Taxis were used to rush casualties to hospital after the attack.
Two South African tourists, Paul and Susie Roos from Cape Town, were at the airport and due to fly home at the time of the explosions.”We came up from the arrivals to the departures, up the escalator when we heard these shots going off,” Mr Roos told the Associated Press news agency.
“There was this guy going roaming around, he was dressed in black and he had a handgun.”
Charles Michel, the Prime Minister of Belgium whose capital city was targeted by bombers in March, tweeted from the EU summit in Brussels: “Our thoughts are with the victims of the attacks at Istanbul’s airport. We condemn these atrocious acts of violence.”In December, a blast on the tarmac at a different Istanbul airport, Sabiha Gokcen, killed a cleaner. That attack was claimed by a Kurdish group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK).