An Explosion At Istanbul's Ataturk Airport Has Left Individuals Injured
According to multiple international news outlets on Tuesday, explosions have hit Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. BBC News reports that both explosions and gunfire were heard, although details of the incident were initially very unclear. Turkish officials then confirmed that two explosions went off, injuring multiple people. Atatürk Airport is the central international travel hub of the Turkish capital of Istanbul, and is the country's biggest airport in terms of traffic. Update: A Turkish justice minister initially confirmed that at least 10 people have died in the explosions, with at least 20 more people wounded. The incident is being widely described as a pair of suicide bombings. However, a few hours later, a Turkish official said the death toll had risen to nearly 50.
According to Reuters, a witness told CNN Türk that gunfire could be heard from an airport parking lot. There's also video circulating on social media showing some of the aftermath of the mayhem, with wounded people lying on the ground, seemingly being treated. It's as upsetting as you'd expect, so you should exercise your own judgment about whether or not to watch. It won't be embedded, but you can see it here if you want to.
Reuters reports that Turkish officials say the suspects blew up their explosive devices before reaching an x-ray security checkpoint. The reports also suggest that the widely reported sounds of gunfire may have been the police firing on a pair of suspects. A Turkish justice minister has also reportedly said that one of the suspects fired a Kalashnikov rifle before detonating their explosives, but there are still conflicting reports.
Turkish officials are openly describing this as a terrorist attack, and it wouldn't be the first time the country has faced suicide bombers — they've been a grimly familiar occurrence within Turkey in recent months, amid warring both with militant Islamic groups like ISIS and al Qaeda, and Kurdish separatist forces.
So far, no person or organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, which reportedly took place close to the entrance of the airport's international terminal. Atatürk Airport performs security scans right near the terminal entrance, which could possibly be what kept the bombers from detonating deeper into the airport.
NBC News' chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has also reported that at least one witness believes they heard three explosions, not two. Information can be notoriously unreliable during chaotic events like these, however, so you should bear in mind that these reports may change or be clarified with added context as time goes on.