Dozens were killed and nearly 150 wounded in a shooting and suicide bombing attack on Istanbul’s Atatürk international airport on Tuesday night. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that the Islamic State, which carried out a similar attack at Brussels Airport in March, was likely responsible, though no group has yet claimed credit.
The attack began just before 9 pm when three terrorists, who arrived by taxi, entered the airport, which is the third busiest in Europe. Conflicting reports indicate that one or more of them opened fire with automatic weapons in the departures hall, prompting return fire from police officers, before all three detonated explosive suicide vests in or around the airport’s international terminal, killing at least 41 people as well as themselves.
TURKEY TERROR ATTACK | UPDATE: 41 murdered, 150 injured. New CCTV video pic.twitter.com/5zQeKLfaQn
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) June 29, 2016
According to one Turkish official, the terrorists exploded their bombs at the entrance to the arrivals terminal and in a nearby parking lot, and none of them had managed to make it past a security checkpoint.
At least 147 people were injured, some critically. According to the Associated Press, senior Turkish government officials expect the death toll to climb to 50.
Speaking to press at the airport following the bombing, Yildirim said that initial investigations “point at the Daesh [ISIS] organization as the perpetrators of this terror attack” but added that investigations were continuing.
The attack was similar in nature to the horrific bombing of Brussels Airport in March, in which 16 people were killed by two suicide bombers. ISIS quickly claimed responsibility for that attack, as well as for another explosion at a Brussels subway in which 16 more people were killed.
“This has shown once again that terrorism is a global threat,” stated Yildirim. “This is a heinous planned attack that targeted innocent people.”
He suggested that the timing of the attack was related to Turkey’s newly signed reconciliation agreement with Israel, officially announced on Monday, and its military actions against Kurdish rebels in Turkey.
“It is meaningful that this heinous attack came at a time when we have become successful in the fight against separatist terrorism … and at a time when we started a process of normalizing ties with our neighbors,” Yildirim said.
Most of the victims were Turkish, but there were also some foreigners among those killed. Though a number of Israeli diplomats and at least 130 Israeli travelers were at the airport at the time of the attack, all had been accounted for by Wednesday morning.
While air traffic was interrupted after the bombing, flights had resumed by Wednesday.
This is the fifth bombing terror attack of the year for Turkey. Two suicide attacks in Istanbul’s tourist hotspots were attributed to ISIS. A Kurdish militant group claimed responsibility for two car bombing attacks, the most recent of which killed 11 and wounded 36.