At least 36 people have been killed and more than 140 others have been injured after three attackers opened fire at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport before blowing themselves up, officials say. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The attack began at around 10 p.m. local time on Tuesday when gunfire erupted at several locations at the airport, which is Istanbul’s main international airport. Police returned gunfire, shooting at least one of the attackers, before they blew themselves up.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim confirmed on early Wednesday morning that at least 39 people had been killed, including 3 attackers, but other officials indicated that the death toll is expected to rise. Another 147 people were injured, of whom some suffered life-threatening injuries.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Turkish officials said that preliminary information pointed to the Islamic State group (ISIS) as the likely perpetrator. Tuesday’s deadly attack happened on the eve of the second anniversary of ISIS declaring itself an Islamic caliphate.
According to witnesses and officials, the three attackers opened fire at separate locations – two inside the airport itself near security checkpoints and the third in the area in between where taxis pick up and drop off passengers, not far from a parking lot.
The nationalities of the victims were not immediately known, but Yildirim confirmed that some of those killed may have been foreign citizens. All flights at the airport have been suspended until at least 5 a.m. on Wednesday.
Istanbul Atatürk Airport is Europe’s third busiest airport, just after London Heathrow Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle.
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