WOL – A triple suicide bombing at Istanbul’s main international airport on Tuesday night has left 41 dead and more than 200 wounded in a suspected Isil attack.
The bombers detonated explosive vests in the arrivals hall of Ataturk airport, which is the third busiest in Europe.
They had been trying to pass through X-ray machines when they were stopped by Turkish security officials. When they began shooting with AK-47 rifles, the officers returned fire.
A police officer tried to wrestle one of the gunmen to the ground before he blew himself up in a bombing coordinated with two other suspects.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility, but Binali Yildirim, Turkey’s prime minister, said it appeared to have been an attack by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants.
“There is initial evidence that each of the three suicide bombers blew themselves up after opening fire,” he told reporters at the airport.
Mr Yildirim said the attackers had come to the airport by taxi and that preliminary findings pointed to Isil responsibility.
Isil had called for attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, and have focused attention on Turkey, which is currently bidding to join the European Union.
As many as 2.5 million Britons travel to Turkey each year, although the number of tourists is thought to have declined in recent months following a spate of Isil attacks in the country.
David Cameron described the terrorist attack as “hideous”. The Prime Minister said the UK would continue to work with the other countries after Brexit on “keeping our countries safe, keeping our people safe – and it’s particularly important to say that tonight again when there has been another hideous terrorist attack in Turkey”.
Footage from the airport showed terrified children and parents crouched among debris on the floor as screams were heard in the background.
A German tourist, who was at passport control entering Turkey, said she threw herself onto the floor with the sound of the explosion.
“Everyone started running away. Everywhere was covered with blood and body parts. I saw bullet holes on the doors,” she said outside the airport.
Gunfire was also reported by witnesses coming from the airport’s car park.
Turkey has suffered a spate of bombings this year, including two suicide attacks in tourist areas of Istanbul blamed on Isil, and two car bombings in the capital, Ankara, which were claimed by a Kurdish militant group. (telegraph/nia/data2)