Tragedy in Turkey

Death toll rises to 36 and roughly 147 injured in airport bombing

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A deadly bombing and shooting spree occurred at Ataturk international airport in Turkey. Three perpetrators began to shoot inside and outside the building before blowing themselves up as police began to shoot at them.

Responsibility is uncertain at this point as recent attacks have been linked to Islamic State or Kurdish separatists. PM Binali Yildirim stated that suspicions lie with Islamic State however no one from the extremist group has claimed responsibility.

The death toll is currently at 36 with about 147 injured, the terminal was littered with broken glass, bodies covered in sheets and luggage strewn everywhere.

International response has been swift with the US calling the attack “heinous” claiming they would be “steadfast in our support for Turkey.” Thomas de Maiziere, German Interior Minister, labelled the attacks “cowardly and brutal.”

Turkish officials claimed victims came from a range of nationalities including one Iranian victim and one Ukranian victim, both of whom died. Casualties were rushed to hospital by taxis where relatives would gather outside, some angry at the lack of information over the incident.

The airport has been labelled a vulnerable target and in 2015 took in over 61 million passengers.

Paul Roos, flying home to South Africa, described 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.”

Social media footage shows one attacker running through the terminal as people try to escape in fear. He is then shot by the police and remains on the ground for 20 seconds before blowing himself up.

Bombs and shootings have occurred in Turkey over the past two years, blame being laid on Islamic State and Kurdish separatists the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK).

Flights were immediately suspended after the incident with the US Federal Aviation Administration halting services between the US and Turkey. Flights have resumed again however reportedly one third have been cancelled with numerous delays.

 

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