Glen Johnson

28 killed in explosions at Istanbul airport, official says

June 28, 2016 Los Angeles Times

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Multiple explosions and gunfire rocked Turkey’s largest airport Tuesday night, killing 28 people and injuring at least 60, the latest in a string of potent attacks to hit the country.

Istanbul Gov. Vasip Sahin said three suicide bombers carried out the attack. However, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said he could only confirm that one attacker had opened fire with a Kalashnikov rifle before blowing himself up at the entrance to the airport’s international terminal.

Details were sketchy, but the Daily Sabah reported that blasts were heard at the entrance to the international terminal, the domestic terminal, and the parking lot.

Laurence Cameron, a passenger at the airport, told CNN that at least one of the blasts hit the airport’s taxi area.

“The ground’s just sort of shredded, the roof’s shredded,” he said, describing a scene of screaming and rushing emergency vehicles.

Television news reports showed rows of ambulances arriving amid a heavy police presence. Images shared on social media depicted a number of bloodied casualties, as searchers combed through debris.

There was no initial claim of responsibility.

A radical Kurdish faction last year attacked another Istanbul airport, Sabiha Gokcen.

Turkey has increasingly become a target for the militant group Islamic State, after long tolerating the Salafi jihadist presence along its southern border with Syria.

A string of potent suicide bombings over the past year, carried out by a home-grown Islamic State cell in the southeastern city of Adiyaman, has forced Ankara to confront the extremists.

Police regularly arrest Islamic State operatives throughout the country. However, the group is well-embedded, with established networks spreading from Istanbul to the Syrian border.

The attack on Tuesday comes as Turkey’s tourism industry struggles amid fears of more such attacks.

“I saw parts of arms and legs,” wrote a Twitter user at the airport during the attack.

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