Istanbul: In a dastardly act, three suicide bombers first opened fire and then blew themselves up at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport early on Wednesday killing 41 and injuring at least 239 people.
The Ataturk airport is Turkey’s largest and Europe’s third busiest airport.
According to reports, one of the terrorists opened fire in the departure hall causing panic with passengers running for cover before all the three blew themselves up to wreak havoc.
The attack is one of the deadliest in a series of suicide bombings that has tormented Turkey which has failed to stop inhuman attacks from the neighbouring Syria which is battling an insurgency by Kurdish militants.
Turkish PM blames IS
Addressing the press at the airport, the premier said the attacks were carried out by three suicide bombers and all blew themselves up, Xinhua news agency reported. He also blamed the Islamic State (IS) for the bombing attacks.
US officials said the attack bears the hallmarks of IS because of the target and method, CNN reported.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attack should serve as a turning point in the global fight against militant groups, BBC reported.
“The bombs that exploded in Istanbul could have gone off at any airport in any city around the world,” Erdogan said.
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said earlier in Ankara that one terrorist opened fire with a Kalashnikov rifle and then blew himself up.
A Turkish official was quoted as saying on Twitter that the vast majority of casualties are Turkish citizens, with foreigners among the dead and wounded.
The police have closed the entrances and exits of the airport, and some inbound flights to the airport have been diverted in the aftermath of the attacks, press reports said.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has ordered the formation of a crisis desk.
Kerem Kinik, the head of Turkish Red Crescent, has appealed for blood donation.
The security situation in Turkey has deteriorated over the past year, with Istanbul, the national capital of Ankara and other cities having already been hit by a number of bombing attacks.
(With IANS inputs)