Ankara, June 29 (IANS) At least 36 persons were killed and over 145 others injured gun and bomb attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk international airport, Turkish authorities said.
Witnesses described deadly carnage and crowds in a panic as the attackers struck one of the world’s busiest airports on Tuesday night, CNN reported.
The casualties were confirmed by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. A total of 147 people were wounded, Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said.
Out of the three bombers that carried out the attack, two were at the international terminal, and the third was in the nearby parking lot, a Turkish official told CNN.
“The terrorists came to the airport in a taxi and then carried out their attacks,” Prime Minister Yildirin said.
“The fact that they were carrying guns added to the toll. Preliminary findings suggest all three attackers first opened fire then detonated themselves.”
Yildirim said signs pointed to the Islamic State (IS) being responsible for the the attacks.
However, no group has claimed responsibility.
The airport was closed overnight for several hours, and flights into the airport were diverted to the capital of Ankara and other cities.
The airport reopened at around 2 a.m.
Yildirim told reporters that the airport was opened for incoming and outgoing flights early Wednesday.
Pictures from the airport terminal showed bodies covered in sheets, with glass and abandoned luggage littering the building.
A video from inside the terminal showed people fleeing and the bright orange flash of fire from one of the explosions. Victims staggered and some fell from the blood-covered, slick floor.
Another video showed a man walking with a gun, which he drops when he was apparently shot by a security officer. The man slumps to the ground and the officer briefly stands over him before running. About 10 seconds later, there is an explosion.
Traveller Laurence Cameron described what he saw after he stepped off a plane.
“It was just a massive crowd of screaming people. Some were falling over themselves,” he said, adding “Where you normally hail a taxi, that is where the attack happened. The ground is just kind of shredded. There are bloodstains on the floor as well.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a unified international fight against terrorism.
“Make no mistake: For terrorist organisations, there is no difference between Istanbul and London, Ankara and Berlin, Izmir and Chicago or Antalya and Rome,” he said.
“Unless all governments and the entire mankind join forces in the fight against terrorism, much worse things than what we fear to imagine today will come true.”