Nearly 36 killed in suicide attack at Istanbul airport
By: Annie Yager, Xiro Xone News June 28, 2016 Updated: 4:33 PM
More than 36 people were killed and 150 injured Tuesday in an attack at Ataturk International Airport by three suicide bombers, Turkish TV reported.
Chaos erupted soon after the detonation, Istanbul Gov. Vasip Sahin said.
The specifics about the attack remain unclear with conflicting reports about the number of alleged attackers and blasts at Ataturk airport, Turkey's biggest international airport and one of the world's busiest airports.
One official said attackers detonated explosives at the entrance of the international terminal after police fired at them.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol, said the attackers blew themselves up before entering the x-ray security check at the airport entrance.
Turkish airports have security checks at both entrances of the terminal buildings as well as a later checkpoint before entry to departure gates. Roads around the airport were sealed off for regular traffic after the attack, and several ambulances could be seen driving back and forth.
Ataturk is the main international airport serving Istanbul. All flights were suspended at the airport in the wake of the attack, and Facebook activated its Safety Check feature for the surrounding area.
Dazed travelers in the airport’s domestic terminal made phone calls to loved ones and waited for information, according to one woman who was present.
At least some people inside the airport were told that they wouldn’t be able to leave for hours as authorities searched the building, another person who was waiting to be evacuated told The WorldPost.
Turkey has been reeling from months of attacks targeting both tourists and security forces. Self-described Islamic State militants have claimed credit for some of the bombings, while Kurdish militant groups, which the Turkish government is fighting in the country’s south, took responsibility for others.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan released a statement condemning the attack, which took place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He says the attack "shows that terrorism strikes with no regard to faith and values."
He has called on the international community to take a firm stand against terrorism and vowed to keep up Turkey's struggle against terror groups.
Erdogan says "Turkey has the power, determination and capacity to continue the fight against terrorism until the end."
The U.S. State Department confirmed the explosions on Twitter, saying they are working to determine if U.S. citizens are among the victims.