No one has yet claimed responsibility for today’s blasts at an Istanbul airport.
In another gruesome incident of what appears to be a terror attack, at least 36 people have died and 147 injured (as of 8:30pm ET) in two explosions initiated by suicide bombers in the Istanbul Ataturk Airport’s international terminal. The three suicide bombers blew themselves up after the police started firing shots. Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag reported to CNN that one of the attackers used a Kalashnikov to fire and afterward “detonated himself.” Dozens of ambulances rushed to the airport to assist the victims.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and Iraq James Jeffrey said that it appears to be most certainly a terror attack because of the sophisticated way it was carried out. There have been four ISIS-related attacks in Turkey in the last year. U.S. officials stated the incident “had all the hallmarks of ISIS,” although no one has claimed responsibility for the Istanbul attack. Rebels of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, have also initiated bombing attacks aimed at police and military personnel since last July.
The Istanbul attack is remarkably similar to the Brussel airport bombings last March, which also took place near a terminal’s entrance inside the airport, outside security checkpoints, although the current situation occurred at the perimeter of the airport. Jeffrey asserted that the security of the perimeter may have prevented the attackers from getting into the crowded terminal.
— David (@WordSmithGuy) June 28, 2016
Mustafa Akyol, a well-known Turkish journalist, went to Twitter the evening of the attacks to express the ongoing speculation of the political origins of the attacks. “The fact that the attack came right after the Turkish-Israeli deal might not be an accident – if ISIS is that fast in response.” Suat Kiniklioglu, a former Istanbul lawmaker, inferred a link to Turkey’s involvement in Syria. “Unfortunately, we see the side effects of a disastrous Syria policy that has brought terrorism into the heart of Istanbul and Ankara.” He expressed that the attack was “obviously intended to create an atmosphere of chaos and hit the economy and tourism.”
The fact that the attack came right after the Turkish-Israeli deal might be not an accident – if ISIS is that fast in response.
— Mustafa Akyol (@AkyolinEnglish) June 28, 2016
The U.S. embassy in the Turkish capital has sent consular officers to the scene of the explosions to determine if there have been any victims of U.S. origin. Currently, no American casualties have been found.
The Istanbul Ataturk airport is the country’s largest and serves as a major hub of transport for those traveling internationally. According to the Airports Council International, it was the 11th busiest in the world last year, serving over 61 million passengers.