Suspected IS suicide bombers kill dozens at Istanbul airport

ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP) — Three suspected Islamic State group suicide bombers targeted the international terminal of Istanbul's Ataturk Airport Tuesday, killing at least 36 people and wounding many others, Turkish officials said.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said 36 were dead as well as the three suicide bombers. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said 147 were wounded. Another senior government official told The Associated Press the death toll could climb much higher.

The senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol, at first said close to 50 people had already died, but later said that the figure was expected to rise to close to 50.

Yildirim said three suicide bombers were responsible for the attack and all initial indications suggest the Islamic State group was behind it.

"The findings of our security forces point at the Daesh organization as the perpetrators of this terror attack," Yildirim told reporters at the airport, using the Arabic name for IS. "Even though the indications suggest Daesh, our investigations are continuing."

Yildirim said the attackers arrived at the airport in a taxi and blew themselves up after opening fire. Asked whether a fourth attacker might have escaped, he said authorities have no such assessment but are considering every possibility.

The victims included some foreigners, he said, adding that many of the wounded have minor injuries but others are more badly hurt.

Another Turkish official said two of the attackers detonated explosives at the entrance of the international arrivals terminal after police fired at them, while the third blew himself up in the parking lot.

The official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations and cited interior ministry information, said none of the attackers managed to get past security checks at the terminal's entrance.

Turkish airports have security checks at both the entrance of terminal buildings and then later before entry to departure gates.

Roads around the airport were sealed off for regular traffic after the attack and several ambulances could be seen driving back and forth. Hundreds of passengers were flooding out of the airport and others were sitting on the grass.

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