Istanbul Ataturk airport attack: Deaths rise to 41 as Turkey mourns

Turkey is observing a national day of mourning after a
gun and suicide bomb attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk
airport killed 41 people, including 13 foreign nationals.
Three attackers arrived in a taxi and began firing at the
terminal entrance late on Tuesday. They blew themselves up
after police fired back.
Officials say 239 people were injured, with 41 still intensive
PM Binali Yildirim said early signs pointed to so-called
Islamic State.
However, no-one has so far admitted carrying out the attack.
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Turkish investigators are examining CCTV footage, witness
statements and mobile phone video recorded by terrified
passengers to try to determine the identity of the attackers.
The Dogan news agency said autopsies on the three dead
men suggested they may be foreign nationals but this has
not been confirmed.
Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag says that 128 people
remain in hospital, including nationals of Saudi Arabia,
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Switzerland,
the Associated Press reports.
The Istanbul city governor said 41 people were killed,
including 13 foreign or dual nationals.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said there were no
reports yet of any British casualties, but the Foreign Office
was in contact with Turkish authorities.
Nationality of dead so far confirmed (may include dual
23 – Turkish
5 – Saudi
2 – Iraqi
1 – Chinese; Jordanian; Tunisian; Uzbek; Iranian; Ukrainian;
(Palestinian ambassador to Turkey says one Palestinian
woman killed)
Cleaners worked through the morning to sweep up
shattered glass, while workers repaired cables and ceiling
tiles. Heavily-armed security personnel were patrolling the
Flights had resumed in the early morning, though with many
cancellations and delays.
Tourism hits ‘rock bottom’
Turkey v IS v Syrian Kurds
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared
Wednesday a national day of mourning and said the attack
should serve as a turning point in the global fight against
militant groups.
Reports of the attack vary but it appears the attackers
opened fire at the entrance where X-ray machines are
positioned, sparking an exchange with police. At least two of
the attackers ran into the building.
Footage on social media shows one moving through the
building as people around him flee. He is shot by police and
remains on the ground for about 20 seconds before blowing
himself up. All three attackers were killed.
Analysis: Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent
The lack of any immediate claim for this attack by so-called
Islamic State is not surprising. IS rarely, if ever, claims
responsibility for attacks against the Turkish state yet it is
quick to advertise its assassinations of Syrian activists inside
All the signs point towards IS being the culprits. This is what
British counter-terrorism officials term “a marauding
terrorist firearms attack”, following a pattern first seen in the
Mumbai attacks of 2008.
The Istanbul targets were international air travellers and
ground staff at an iconic location, the third busiest airport in
IS is targeting Turkey because it sees its government as
being un-Islamic and too close to its Western allies in Nato.
IS is also feeling the pressure as the Turkish authorities
move to close down its networks inside Turkey.
Turkey’s other main foe, Kurdish separatists, have carried
out many attacks over the years but their primary targets
have tended to be Turkish policemen and soldiers.
Paul Roos, who was due to fly home to South Africa, told
Reuters he saw one of the attackers.
“He was wearing all black. His face was not masked. We
ducked behind a 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.”
The US called the attack “heinous”, saying America remained
“steadfast in our support for Turkey”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to
Turkey in a phone call with Mr Erdogan, as the pair seek to
rebuild ties.
French President Francois Hollande has confirmed two
French nationals were injured in the attack, but not
Pope Francis denounced the “brutal terrorist attack”, saying:
“May the Lord convert the hearts of the violent ones and
support our efforts toward the path of peace.”
#PrayforTurkey began trending on Twitter after the attack.
Ataturk airport
Europe’s third-busiest in passenger traffic after London
Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle, serving 61.3 million
passengers in 2015. World’s 11th busiest
Opened in 1924 in the Yesilkoy area, renamed in the 1980s
after the nation’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Two passenger terminals: one domestic, one international
To be closed after the massive Istanbul New Airport –
planned to be the largest in the world – opens in the
Arnavutkoy district. Its first phase is due to be operational
in 2017
Major recent attacks
7 June, Istanbul: Car bomb kills seven police officers and
four civilians. Claimed by Kurdish militant group TAK
19 March, Istanbul: Suicide bomb kills four people in
shopping street. IS blamed
13 March, Ankara: Car bomb kills 35. Claimed by TAK
17 February, Ankara: 29 killed in attack on military buses.
Claimed by TAK
12 January, Istanbul: 12 Germans killed by Syrian bomber
in tourist area
23 December, Istanbul: Bomb kills cleaner at Istanbul’s
Sabiha Gokcen airport. Claimed by TAK
10 October, Ankara: More than 100 killed at peace rally
outside railway station. Blamed on IS
20 July, Suruc, near Syrian border: 34 people killed in
bombing in Kurdish town. IS blamed
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