Explosions and gunfire have erupted in the international flight terminal of Istanbul Airport.
According to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, at least 41 people were killed and 230 people were injured in addition to the attackers. The gunfire occurred at the airport’s car park, while the explosions occurred at the entrance to the international arrivals terminal and appear to have been caused by suicide bombers.
Istanbul Atatürk Airport is the main international airport serving Istanbul and the biggest airport in Turkey by total number of passengers, destinations served and aircraft movements. Opened in 1924 and located on the European side of the city, it is 24km west of the city centre and functions as the main hub for Turkish Airlines.
Shortly before 22:00 Istanbul time, two attackers reportedly approached the x-ray scanner at a security checkpoint and opened fire. The assailants then detonated bombs on their person.
Based on security camera video, one of the bombers was about 24m inside terminal 2 when he detonated his suicide bomb. In the video the explosion can be seen within or near a group of people. It is also believed that one of the explosions was in the parking area across the street of the terminal.
Four armed men were also reported to have been seen running away from the scene after the explosions.
Many travelers gave accounts of what they saw during the attack to reporters after the attack ended. One man stated:
“We came right to international departures and saw the man randomly shooting. He was just firing at anyone coming in front of him. He was wearing all black. His face was not masked. I was 50 metres away from him. We ducked behind a ticket counter but I stood up and watched him. Two explosions went off shortly after one another. By that time he had stopped shooting.
He turned around and started coming towards us. He was holding his gun inside his jacket. He looked around anxiously to see if anyone was going to stop him and then went down the escalator. We heard some more gunfire and then another explosion, and then it was over.”
Other people not yet in the terminal said that multiple taxicab drivers were screaming “Don’t enter! A bomb exploded!” from their windows to incoming traffic.
Non-fatal injuries number 239. The attack is believed to have been carried out by Islamic State.