Belfast Telegraph

Dozens killed and scores hurt after two blasts rip through busy Turkish airport

By Staff Reporter

At least 28 people were killed and more than 60 injured in a terror attack on Istanbul's Ataturk airport last night.

Two explosions ripped through the X-ray security check area in the busy terminal building at 8.30pm last night.

All flights to and from the airport have been suspended and the death toll was last night expected to rise.

Prime Minister David Cameron described the terrorist attack as "hideous".

Mr Cameron, in Brussels for what is likely to be his final EU summit meeting with fellow leaders, said the UK would continue to work with the other countries after Brexit on "keeping our countries safe, keeping our people safe - and it's particularly important to say that tonight again when there has been another hideous terrorist attack in Turkey".

A UK Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are in close contact with authorities in Istanbul and urgently seeking further information following an incident at Ataturk airport.

"Our staff in Istanbul and London stand ready to support any British nationals affected."

Turkish justice minister Bekir Bozdag said that according to preliminary information, "a terrorist at the international terminal entrance first opened fire with a Kalashnikov and then blew himself up".

Another official said attackers detonated explosives at the entrance of the international terminal after police fired at them.

Citing information from the interior ministry, the official said the attackers blew themselves up before entering the X-ray security check at the airport entrance.

One Turkish official said that three suicide bombers carried out the attack.

Police are believed to have returned fire in an attempt to minimise the number of casualties.

British Airways passengers on flight BA680 from London Heathrow to Ataturk were returned to the UK in the wake of the blasts.

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

Eyewitness Ercan Ceyhan told CNN-Turk that he saw some 30 ambulances enter the airport.

BBC correspondent Mark Lowen said that Ataturk airport had long been seen as a vulnerable target for terrorist attack.

The private DHA news agency added that the wounded, among them police officers, were being transferred to Bakirkoy State Hospital.

Turkey has suffered several bombings in recent months linked to Kurdish or Islamic State militants.

The bombings included two in Istanbul targeting tourists, which the authorities have blamed on Islamic State.

The attacks have increased in scale and frequency, scaring off tourists and hurting the economy, which relies heavily on tourism revenues.

The latest attack comes just months after Brussels was hit by suicide bombings at the airport and on the Metro.

IS claimed responsibility for the attacks, on March 22, which killed 32 and wounded another 270.

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