Turkey says DAESH behind deadly airport attack

Explosion and gunfire at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport leaves 41 dead and 239 injured. Turkey blames DAESH terrorist organisation.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Paramedics push a stretcher at Turkey's largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk, Turkey, following a blast June 28, 2016.

Updated Jun 29, 2016

Triple suicide attacks at Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport killed at least 42 people and injured 239 others in what Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says is a terrorist attack conducted by DAESH. 

Turkish officials say 32 Turkish citizens and 10 foreign nationals died in the attack and subsequently. Three of those killed had dual citizenship. Citizens from China, Jordan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Iran and Ukraine were also among the foreigners killed.

So far the identities of 37 victims have been confirmed, 19 of whom have had their bodies returned to their families.

Some of the wounded are in critical condition but many others suffered minor injuries. According to a press statement released by the Istanbul Mayor's Office, 109 of the injured have been released from hospital while 129 are still receiving treatment. 

On late Tuesday night three terrorists detonated their suicide vests at the entry point of the international terminal before passing the x-ray security checkpoint where one of the attackers opened indiscriminate fire with an AK-47 according to officials.

According to Yildirim the terrorists arrived at the airport in a taxi. 

Speaking at the airport Binali Yildirim said, "Our security force's findings indicate that this terror attack was done by DAESH but we are still working to determine who is behind the attack." 

Turkish security forces at Ataturk International Airport.

This is the latest attack in a string of attacks that have struck the Turkish city in recent months. Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world.

Speaking at the airport Prime Minister Yildirim offered his condolences to the victims' families and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

"There is a global threat and with this incident we see this clearly again that this attack targeted innocent people. Our country has been fighting terrorism and has been very successful in this fight. In this period when we are trying to normalize relations with our neighbors, such a terror attack is very meaningful," he said.

Turkey and Israel signed a deal on Tuesday to normalize relations after a six year freeze in relations between the two countries. Turkey and Russia also took steps to mend relations between the countries a few days prior to the attack. 

Forensic police work the explosion site at Ataturk airport on June 28, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly condemned the attack and said: "Everyone should be certain that for terror organisations there is no difference between Istanbul, London, Ankara, Berlin, Izmir, Chicago, Antalya and Rome. Respected countries, if we don’t go hand in hand and fight terror organisations together, we will face many difficulties that we cannot even imagine."

People stand outside the entrance as they leave the airport after two explosions followed by gunfire hit the Turkey's biggest airport of Ataturk in Istanbul, on June 28, 2016

Turkish Airlines and other carriers at Ataturk International Airport faced major delays and suspensions due to the attacks but air traffic was normalized shortly after 2am Wednesday morning.

Yildirim called on Turkish citizens to "to act in unity and stand by each other". He added that this would be the best way to fight terror.

He also called on all countries to fight terror jointly and said, "Once more we see that terror is a threat against all humanity and this attack is a global incident."

In a written statement President Erdogan said, "This attack shows the dark face of terror that targets innocent civilians. This attack does not produce any results, it aims to produce propaganda against our country using the blood and pain of innocent people."


What do we know so far about the attack at Ataturk International Airport?

-At least 42 people, including 32 Turkish citizens and 10 foreign nationals died in the attacks and afterwards, including three dual citizens.

-239 more were wounded, and 129 remain in hospital.

-Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says DAESH is behind the attack. 

-The attack took place at 9:22pm local time (1822 GMT).

-PM Yildirim says the attackers had arrived the airport by taxi.

-Three suicide bombers are confirmed in the attack.

-The terrorists could not get past the x-ray checkpoint at the international arrivals terminal.

-AK-47’s and suicide vests were used by the perpetrators of the attacks.

-Prime Minister Binali Yildirim was briefed by Interior Minister Efkan Ala and Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin and has ordered the formation of a crisis desk.

-Turkey’s Justice Minister has said that one of the attackers used an AK-47 to open indiscriminate fire and then blew up his suicide vest.

-The attackers failed to enter the airport.

-Flights resumed back at 2:20am local time (1120GMT).

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