Turkish officials and witnesses have reported that two suicide bombers first opened fire on people and then blew themselves up at the entrance of the main international airport in Turkey on Tuesday. The attack has killed at least 10 people and a lot more have been wounded. Shots were fired by the police for halting the attackers and preventing them from reaching a security checkpoint at the arrivals hall of the Ataturk airport. However, the officials said that they blew themselves up. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag spoke in the Parliament and said that according to the initial information accumulated, he could confirm that there had been one attacker. He said that apart from the 10 dead, 20 were wounded.
He said that as per the information he had received, a terrorist had opened fire with a Kalashnikov at the entrance of the Ataturk Airport and then blew himself up. The Anadolu agency run by the state said that 60 people had been wounded and six of them had been injured seriously. No claim of responsibility for the attack had been made immediately. Ataturk is not only the largest airport in Turkey, but is also a major transport hub for those traveling internationally. Photographs of the site of the attack posted on social media showed wounded individuals lying on the ground, both inside and outside one of the terminal buildings.
A witness said that his taxi and other cars had been prevented from entering the airport by security officials at around 9:50 pm. Drivers who were leaving from the terminal rolled down their windows and shouted to the incoming traffic not to enter as a bomb had exploded inside. Television footage of the airport showed ambulances were rushing to the scene of the attack. One witness said that sounds of firing were also heard from the airport’s car park. The witness also said that taxis were transporting wounded people from the airport.
Kerem Kinik, head of the Red Crescent, said that instead of going to hospitals for donating blood, people should go to blood donation centers. He also asked them to avoid taking the main roads to the airport so they don’t block the path of emergency vehicles. A Turkish Airlines official said that the flights that had been scheduled for takeoff from the airport were also halted by the authorities and passengers had been moved to hotels. An airport official had also said earlier that some flights to the airport had also been diverted.
A spate of bombings have occurred in Turkey this year, which include two suicide attacks in tourist areas of Istanbul blamed on the IS and also two car bombings in Ankara, the country’s capital, the responsibility of which were claimed by a Kurdish militant group. The most recent attack had involved a car bomb that ripped through a central bus during the morning rush hour in central Istanbul, which killed 11 people and wounded 36. Turkey is also part of the US-led coalition against the IS and the country is also fighting against Kurdish militants.