Suspected terrorists have killed 36 people and grievously injured 150 more, in Turkey’s largest and busiest airport in Istanbul, the Ataturk Airport. The attack was the handiwork of three men, one of whom carried an AK 47 rifle. All three men blew themselves up after the attack.
The attack begun in the departure terminal. Here, the attacker with the AK-47 rifle started shooting at passengers before all three made their way to the arrival terminal which is located a floor below. Here, they were gunned down but not before they had triggered suicide vests containing explosives.
No group has claimed credit for the attack still
The attack has been blamed on the Islamic State but the hand of the Kurdish PKK has not been ruled out either. Close to 9 hours after the attack, no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet. There have been a spate of attacks in Turkey in the recent past.
This is the third suicide attacks in the capital Istanbul, all of them effected by the Islamic state. They have also been two car bombings in Ankara but those were blamed on the PKK. Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildrim called the attack, ‘a vile and planned terrorist attack’.
Why the Islamic State cannot afford to antagonize Turkey
The Islamic State rarely owns up attacks in Turkey because Turkey is the main conduit for its fighters from Europe going to Iraq and Syria. If it is proved that this attack was conducted by the Islamic State, it will be the third major attack by the group since last year.
In March, the group targeted the Brussels airport, killing 16 people. In 2015 March, they attacked a metro train in Brussels, which also killed 16 people.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that the attack should become a turning point in the fight against terror worldwide. He said the fact that the attack occurred during Ramzan showed that terror has no regard for values and faith. The US stood behind its NATO ally and said the attack reinforces their determination to fight terror.
Most of those who died in the attack are Turkish citizens but there are some foreigners among the deceased too. Turkey has closed the airport until Wednesday morning and will refund tickets for the full week.