Three suicide bombers have killed no fewer than 50 people and wounded more than 100 in a co-ordinated attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, reports have said.
The suicide bombers reportedly opened fire with AK-47s and sparked off a shoot-out with security personnel before blowing themselves up.
According to eyewitnesses, 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 was gathered that the men were trying to pass through the security x-ray machines at the entrance to the airport when they were stopped by security officers.
The ‘vast majority’ of victims in the attack were Turkish nationals, but foreigners were also among the casualties, an official has said.
Earlier, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag confirmed that the airport had been attacked at 7.50pm GMT – 9.50pm local time.
“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.
Turkish airports have security checks at both at the entrance of terminal buildings and then later before entry to departure gates.
It would be recalled that, in December, 2016, a blast on the tarmac at a different Istanbul airport, Sabiha Gokcen, killed a cleaner.
Recent bomb attacks in Turkey had been linked to Kurdish separatists or Islamic State group.
This is as the US government has urged US citizens to “exercise heightened vigilance and caution when visiting public access areas, especially those heavily frequented by tourists.”