Explosions and what sounded like gunfire have rocked Istanbul’s international Ataturk airport. Turkish officials said at least ten people are dead. State news agency Anadolou reports 60 wounded.
Turkish media and officials say two attackers detonated their explosives near the security check-in at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport late on Tuesday. Turkey’s justice minister spoke of one attacker.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozday told parliament that the “preliminary toll” comprised at least 10 people killed and at least 20 others injured.
Police had opened fire on the two suspects in front of a security checkpoint in the airport arrivals terminal. The pair then set off explosions, Turkey media reported. Bozdag spoke of one “terrorist.”
Broadcaster NTV quoted Bozdag as saying that one attacker had opened fire with a Kalashnikov rifle.
One Turkish official quoted by Reuters said police had fired shots to try to “neutralize” the suspects.
Videos on social media showed panicked passengers amid sounds of gunfire and the arrival of ambulances. Roads around the airport were sealed off to regular traffic.
The private DHA news agency said the wounded, among them police officers, were being transfered to the region’s Bakirkoy State Hospital.
Ataturk is Turkey’s largest airport and a major transport hub for international travelers. It ranks as the world’s 11th busiest airport, with 62 million passengers last year.
Reuters quoted a Turkish Airlines official as saying authorities had halted the takeoff of scheduled flights. Passengers were transfered to hotels. An airport official said some flights had been diverted away from Ataturk.
Turkey has been hit by a spate of bombings this year, including two suicide attacks in tourist areas of Istanbul blamed on so-called “Islamic State” (IS) militants and one attack attributed to Kurdish militants.
On June 7, a car bomb ripped through a police bus in central Istanbul during the morning rush hour, killing 11 people and wounding 36.
Turkey, which is part of the U.S.-led coalition against IS, is also fighting Kurdish militants in its largely Kurdish southeast.
ipj/jr (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)