Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Suicide bombers blow selves up in terminal of Istanbul airport

(Mirror) - At least 36 people were killed and at least 60 people injured when three attackers detonated explosives at the entrance to Europe's third busiest airport shortly after 10pm local time.

Police fired shots to try to stop the attackers just before they reached a security checkpoint at the arrivals hall of the Ataturk airport but they blew themselves up, a Turkish official said.

Speaking in parliament, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told CNN Turk: "According to information I have received, at the entrance to the Ataturk Airport international terminal a terrorist first opened fire with a Kalashnikov and then blew themself up."

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but early indications suggest ISIS terrorists were behind, police sources were reportedly cited as saying.

The state-run Anadolu agency said around 60 people were wounded, six of them seriously.

Ataturk is Turkey's largest airport and a major transport hub for international travellers.

Pictures posted on social media from the site showed wounded people lying on the ground inside and outside one of the terminal buildings while ambulances could be seen rushing to the airport.

A witness said security officials prevented his taxi and other cars from entering the airport at around 9:50 pm (1850 GMT).

Drivers leaving the terminal shouted "Don't enter! A bomb exploded!" from their windows to incoming traffic, he said.

The head of Red Crescent, Kerem Kinik, said on CNN Turk that people should go to blood donation centres and not hospitals to give blood and called on people to avoid main roads to the airport to avoid blocking path of emergency vehicles.

Authorities halted the takeoff of scheduled flights from the airport and passengers were transferred to hotels, a Turkish Airlines official said.

Earlier an airport official said some flights to the airport had been diverted.

Turkey has suffered a spate of bombings this year, including two suicide attacks in tourist areas of Istanbul blamed on Islamic State, and two car bombings in the capital, Ankara, which were claimed by a Kurdish militant group.

In the most recent attack, a car bomb ripped through a police bus in central Istanbul during the morning rush hour, killing 11 people and wounding 36 near the main tourist district, a major university and the mayor's office.

Turkey, which is part of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, is also fighting Kurdish militants in its largely Kurdish southeast.

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