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Istanbul airport attack: 41 dead after suicide bombers strike Ataturk International airport in Turkey

239 others have been injured in the attack

Justin Carissimo,Matt Payton
Thursday 30 June 2016 01:37 BST
Video shows moment Istanbul airport bomber brought down by police

Two explosions rocked Turkey’s largest airport on Tuesday leaving at least 41 people dead and 239 others injured. The death toll is expected to rise up to 50, one senior Turkish official told the Associated Press.

Security guards exchanged gunfire with two suspects carrying AK-47 rifles at 10pm on Tuesday before both attackers detonated suicide bombs as they reached the first security checkpoint at the Ataturk airport in Istanbul. A third assailant detonated his explosives in the airport’s parking lot, Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin told several Turkish media outlets.

While no terrorist groups have claimed responsibility for the massacre, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said based on a preliminary investigation that “all signs point to Isis.”

“According to analyses by our security forces, first indications point at Daesh as perpetrators,” Yildirim said during a press conference at the airport. “What is noteworthy is that this attack came at a time when our country is putting up a merciless fight against separatist terrorism and recording significant success.”

One witness told NBC News that he saw a police officer wrestle a suicide bomber to the ground before the assailant detonated his bomb.

After closing for several hours, the airport has reopened and flights reaching the US have continued as planned. The Ataturk is the third busiest European airport following London’s Heathrow and the Charles De Gaulle in Paris.

The suspects were reportedly armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, and video footage showed people running for cover inside the terminal building.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s heinous terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport in Turkey, which appears to have killed and injured dozens,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

“We remain steadfast in our support for Turkey, our NATO Ally and partner, along with all of our friends and allies around the world, as we continue to confront the threat of terrorism.”

Facebook has activated their Safety Check feature for people in the surrounding area. The US Embassy encouraged people to directly contact their loved ones and use the check-in features on social media.

The US State Department also announced that it is trying to determine if any Americans were killed on Tuesday night.

By late afternoon, both presumed US presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump offered their condolences to the families of the victims.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also condemned the attacks and urged Western countries to take a stronger stance against terrorism.

“The bombs that went off in Istanbul today could have gone off in any city in the world, in any airport. I want everyone to understand that, to the terrorists, there is no difference between Istanbul and London, Ankara and Berline, Izmir and Chicago,” President Erdogan said in a written statement.

“Unless we come together as all countries and as all people, and fight against the terrorists together, all possibilities that we can’t even dare think of right now will come true.”

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