A series of deadly explosions tore through crowds at Istanbul’s Atatürk international airport on Tuesday evening, leaving at least 41 people dead and scores more injured in an attack officials blamed on the Islamic State terror group. Shortly before the blasts, assailants armed with AK-47 rifles became involved in a firefight with security and police near the airport’s x-ray security checkpoint.
The gunmen then detonated what are believed to have been suicide bombs. Three attackers died on the scene, said the Turkish prime minister, Binali Yıldırım.
By Wednesday morning, 18 bodies had been identified, including a young married couple working in ground services, several tourism guides and one taxi driver.
The Istanbul governor’s office said 23 Turks, 10 foreigners and three dual nationals were among the dead. Turkish officials said five Saudis, two Iraqis, an Iranian, a Chinese, a Jordanian, a Tunisian, an Uzbek and a Ukrainian were killed in the attack, and Turkish national broadcaster TRT reported that five of the dead were police officers.
The governor’s office also said at least 239 people were wounded in the attack, and that 109 of those had been discharged from hospital by early on Wednesday afternoon.
Iran’s Tasnim news agency quoted deputy foreign minister Hassan Qashqavi as saying five Iranian nationals had been injured in addition to the person killed, while the Ukrainian foreign ministry said a second Ukrainian was injured. The Saudi embassy said seven of its nationals were among the injured.
In a press conference in Istanbul on Tuesday night, Yıldırım said: “No matter where the terror comes from, our country is strong enough to fight against this terror. I call on every citizen to act in unity and stand by each other.” He said that by 2.22am local time air traffic was “back to normal and flights are resumed”.