Photos Of The Istanbul Ataturk Attack Are Devastating
Turkish officials said that at least two people have blown themselves up inside Istanbul's main airport, and the photos are a devastating. The attack occurred at the entrance to the international terminal. Details are scarce but justice minister officials said that the two suspects blew themselves up just outside a security checkpoint at the entry. At Istanbul Atatürk Airport, travelers go through a metal detector and bags are screened at the entrance to the airport — before entering the check-in area. The bombs went off after police opened fire on the suspects. Update: The Associated Press reported that the Istanbul governor said 28 people were killed in the attacks and 60 were wounded. However, a few hours later, a Turkish official said the death toll had risen to nearly 50.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said 10 people were killed in the attacks and at least 20 people were injured, adding that one of the suspects fired an automatic weapon before blowing himself up. He "first opened fire with a Kalashnikov then detonated himself," Bozdağ said. The casualty numbers may be updated. Other sources contend around 40 were wounded. Both suicide bombers were also killed in the attack. Exactly how close they came to entering the departure hall is unclear; it seems one of the bombs went off closer to the entrance and the other a bit further back on the pavement.
Witnesses told CNN Turk that the injured were being taken away in taxi cabs, The New York Times reported. As many as 30 ambulances also entered the airport to see to the wounded; the Associated Press reported that the injured — some of whom were police officers — were being taken to a nearby state hospital. Photos and videos from the scene show the destruction in the area, wounded on the floor outside the terminal, as well as people hiding for safety and fleeing the scene.
Atatürk is Turkey's largest international airport and the third-busiest in Europe after London Heathrow and Paris' Charles de Gaulle. Connecting flights with Turkish Airlines make it a major transfer point for travelers heading to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Authorities halted departures from the airport and travelers were taken to hotels, a Turkish Airlines official told Reuters.
It is unclear what group — if any — is responsible for the bombings. The attack is similar to the April airport attack in Brussels, the difference being security checkpoints that keep bombs from entering the terminal building. ISIS ultimately claimed responsibility for that attack. Turkey and Istanbul specifically have been the target of other attacks in recent months. Earlier this month 11 were killed in a car bombing in a central district of the city.
A U.S. State Department travel warning that was published in March was updated Monday. It advised "heightened vigilance and caution when visiting public access areas, especially those heavily frequented by tourists." These photos make the warning all too real.