Global condemnation after deadly Istanbul airport bombings

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World leaders have denounced triple suicide bombings at Istanbul airport, which Turkey has blamed on so-called “Islamic State” militants. As many as 36 people were killed and close to 150 injured.

The White House condemned Tuesday evening’s “heinous terrorist attack” by three suicide bombers at Ataturk airport, one of Europe’s busiest hubs.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an international “joint fight” against terror following the blasts, which took place in and around the arrivals terminal.

Reports say three attackers arrived by taxi and began spraying bullets at the terminal entrance to Ataturk airport before blowing themselves up at around 10pm local time (19:00 UTC). Several foreigners were among those killed and injured, along with police officers.

One of the attackers detonated explosives by a security checkpoint, while another blew himself up outside the terminal and the third in a parking area, Turkish officials said.

Security camera footage widely circulated on social media appeared to capture two of the blasts. In one clip a huge ball of flame erupts at an entrance to the terminal building, while another video shows a black-clad attacker collapsing on the ground before blowing himself up.

One eyewitness, Hevin Zini, 12, had just arrived from Düsseldorf, Germany, with her family and was in tears from the shock.

“There was blood on the ground,” she told The Associated Press. “Everything was blown up to bits… if we had arrived two minutes earlier, it could have been us.”

A woman named Duygu, who had also just arrived from Germany, said she threw herself onto the floor as she heard the explosion.

“Everyone started running away. Everywhere was covered with blood and body parts. I saw bullet holes on the doors,” she added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also condemned the attacks, saying she offered her sympathies for the victims and the injured, while United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the purpetrators to be identified and brought to justice.

Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the carnage, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yidirim said the evidence pointed to the “Islamic State” (IS) militant group.

The attacks took place as a plane carrying Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama was landing at the airport. He was arriving on an official visit and was safely taken to an official residence.

The blasts were the deadliest of four attacks to rock Turkey’s biggest city this year, with two others blamed on IS and another claimed by a militant Kurdish group.

The airport remained closed for several hours but later reopened. Washington temporarily grounded all flights to and from the airport.

mm/jr (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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