Three suicide bombers have killed up to 50 and wounded 60 in a ‘major, co-ordinated’ attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, opening fire with AK-47s and sparking a shoot-out with security personnel before blowing themselves up.
Eyewitnesses have told how a hero policeman wrestled a suicide bomber to the ground just seconds before he detonated his explosives at the entrance to the airport’s international arrivals terminal.
It is believed the men were trying to pass through the security x-ray machines at the entrance to the airport, the third busiest in Europe, when they were stopped by security officers and carried out their lethal attack.
Reports tonight claim that ISIS is to blame for the attack, according to Turkey’s Dogan news agency citing police sources, however there has yet been no official claim of responsibility.
Turkish Airlines is the official airline partner to the Euro 2016 football tournament, being held in France.
‘A terrorist at the international terminal entrance first opened fire with a Kalashnikov and then blew himself up,’ he said, speaking to parliament in the country’s capital of Ankara.
After being stopped as they tried to pass through x-ray machines, the attackers are believed to have opened fire and became locked in a shootout with security and police officers. Some of the wounded are said to be police officers involved in the melee.
Turkish airports have security checks at both at the entrance of terminal buildings and then later before entry to departure gates.
But nevertheless, the airport has long been seen as a vulnerable target, according to the BBC.
While there are x-ray scanners at the entrance security checks for cars are limited, which left the airport exposed to what is being called a ‘major, co-ordinated attack’.
BBC correspondent Mark Lowen, speaking from a grounded plane on the Ataturk runway, said: ‘We are being kept on board the plane and not being allowed to disembark because of what’s happening inside the airport.