A gun and bomb attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk international airport has killed 36 people and injured more than 140, officials say.
The State of Qatar has strongly condemned and denounced today’s explosion at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport that killed and injured a number of people.
While condemning the cowardly criminal attacks which run counter to all the moral values and human principles as well as the teachings of the revealed religions and which target innocent civilians, the Foreign Ministry, in a statement today, expressed solidarity of the State of Qatar with the brotherly Republic of Turkey and support to all measures it takes to maintain its security and stability.
The statement said that Qatar’s support to Turkey stems from its firm position rejecting violence and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
The statement expressed Qatar’s sincere condolences to the victims’ families, the Turkish government and people, wishing the injured speedy recovery. (QNA)
Three attackers opened fire near an entry point to the terminal and blew themselves up after police fired at them, officials say.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said early signs suggested the so-called Islamic State was behind the attack.
Recent bombings have been linked to either IS or Kurdish separatists.
Tuesday’s attack looked like a major co-ordinated assault, says the BBC’s Mark Lowen.
Ataturk airport was long seen as a vulnerable target, our Turkey correspondent adds, reporting from a plane stuck on the tarmac in Istanbul.
There are X-ray scanners at the entrance to the terminal but security checks for cars are limited.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attack should serve as a turning point in the global fight against militant groups.
“The bombs that exploded in Istanbul today could have gone off at any airport in any city around the world,” he said.
The US called the attack “heinous”, and said saying America remained “steadfast in our support for Turkey”.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: “We grieve for the victims. We stand by Turkey”.
Speaking several hours after Tuesday’s attack, Mr Yildirim said at least 36 people were killed and many wounded, some seriously.
He also said foreigners were likely to be among the dead.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag put the number of injured at 147.
Footage has emerged on social media that appears to show a police officer shooting one of the attackers, who detonates a suicide belt as he is lying injured on the ground.
Flights in and out of the airport were suspended after the attack.
The US Federal Aviation Administration grounded all flights between the US and Istanbul.
Terrified passengers were seen leaving the airport on foot (Reuters)
Armed police sealed off the area (AFP)
A Kalashnikov assault rifle was later found at the scene of the attack (REUTERS)
Ambulances flocked to the airport after explosions were heard (REUTERS)
A number of injured people were taken to local hospitals (EPA)
Taxis were used to rush casualties to hospital after the attack.
Eyewitness Paul Roos told the Associated Press news agency that he was due to fly home to South Africa when the attackers struck.
“We came up from the arrivals to the departures, up the escalator when we heard these shots going off,” he said.
“There was this guy going roaming around, he was dressed in black and he had a handgun.”
Charles Michel, the Prime Minister of Belgium whose capital city was targeted by bombers in March, tweeted from the EU summit in Brussels: “Our thoughts are with the victims of the attacks at Istanbul’s airport. We condemn these atrocious acts of violence.”
In December, a blast on the tarmac at a different Istanbul airport, Sabiha Gokcen, killed a cleaner. That attack was claimed by a Kurdish group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK).