‘Nearly 50 Killed’ In Istanbul Airport Attack
This is a developing story…
Nearly 50 people have been killed in an attack at the main airport in Istanbul, a senior Turkish official has told the Associated Press.
Three suicide bombers opened fire before blowing themselves up at the international terminal of Ataturk Airport, Vasip Sahin told Turkey’s NTV television.
Several witnesses reported two explosions but Mr Sahin said authorities believed there may have been three bombers.
Two of the attackers detonated their explosives when police fired shots at them, an official said, citing information from the interior ministry.
A witness told NBC News that he saw a police officer diving to tackle one of the attackers – who then detonated his bomb.
The attack happened around the airport entrance before the assailants would have gone through security checks, officials said.
Speaking in the Turkish parliament earlier, justice minister Bekir Bozdag said he could only confirm one attacker, based on initial information.
“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 himself up,” Mr Bozdag said.
Pictures posted on social media showed wounded people lying on the ground inside and outside the terminal buildings.
“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 when the attack took place.
A German woman named Duygu who was at the airport told Reuters: “Everyone started running away. Everywhere was covered with blood and body parts. I saw bullet holes on the doors.”
Another passenger told the Associated Press that she hid under a counter after hearing an explosion and a loud bang.
Taxis were ferrying the wounded from the hospital and witness Ercan Ceyhan told CNN Turk he saw around 30 ambulances rush to the scene.
— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) June 28, 2016
A Foreign Office spokesman said it was “urgently seeking further information” following the attack.
“Our staff in Istanbul and London stand ready to support any British nationals affected,” he said.
Flights to the airport have been diverted.
British Airways flight BA680 from London Heathrow to Ataturk was returned to the UK in the wake of the blasts.
Footage apparently capturing the moment of the explosion. Not graphic but disturbing nonetheless. pic.twitter.com/Y3TzrXIOzh
— reported.ly (@reportedly) June 28, 2016
In recent months Turkey has suffered several attacks linked to Kurdish or Islamic State group militants.
The attacks include two bombings targeting tourists in Istanbul, which authorities blamed on IS.