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29th Jun 2016

At least 36 dead, 147 injured in “ISIS terror attack” at Turkey airport

Three men are believed to have used guns and suicide vests in the attack.

Declan Cashin

ISIS is responsible for last night’s gun attack and suicide bombing at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, the Turkish prime minister has said.

At least 36 people are believed to be dead, and another 147 injured in the attack, which was reportedly carried out by three men armed with Kalashnikov rifles. They then detonated suicide vests when police officers arrived.

Although no group has yet to claim official responsibility, Turkish PM, Binali Yildirim, has pinned the attack on Islamic State (ISIS).

“The findings of our security forces point at the Daesh organisation [ISIS] as the perpetrators of this terror attack,” he said. “Even though the indications suggest Daesh, our investigations are continuing.”

The PM explained that the attackers arrived by taxi to the airport, and launched their assault at the international arrivals terminal.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan struck a defiant note last night, saying: “This attack does not produce any results, it aims to produce propaganda against our country using the blood and pain of innocent people.”

Video has emerged online that seems to have captured the moment that the bombs detonated, as well as the panic that then ensued.

Witnesses and survivors have been telling their stories in the aftermath.

“There was a huge explosion, extremely loud. The roof came down. Inside the airport it is terrible, you can’t recognise it, the damage is big,” said Ali Tekin, who was at the arrivals hall at the time.

One South African tourist’s description of the attack is quoted in ‘The Guardian’:

“We came right to international departures and saw the man randomly shooting. He was just firing at anyone coming in front of him. He was wearing all black. His face was not masked. I was 50 metres away from him.

“We ducked behind a counter but I stood up and watched him. Two explosions went off shortly after one another. By that time he had stopped shooting. He turned around and started coming towards us. He was holding his gun inside his jacket. He looked around anxiously to see if anyone was going to stop him and then went down the escalator… we heard some more gunfire and then another explosion, and then it was over.”

Some 60 million people a year pass through the airport, making it one of the busiest in the world. Flights were cancelled and diverted throughout the evening, but the airport has since reopened for incoming and outgoing flights.

World leaders have condemned the attack:

…while US republican hopeful Donald Trump had this to say:

Celebrities have posted messages on social media about the attacks:

But Cher – always an idiosyncratic user of social media – has been criticised for her use of emojis in her message.

‘The Telegraph’ reports that hundreds of people have been killed in the last year in terror attacks in the country linked to ISIS and Kurdish militant groups, PKK and TAK. The most recent was just three weeks ago when a car bomb ripped through rush hour traffic in central Istanbul, killing 11 people and wounding dozens more.