Bomb Blast And Shooting At Istanbul Ataturk Airport; 50 DEAD

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UPDATE 6:50PM EST – This was a big terror attack – warning the videos below from the airport are graphic. Although we said earlier the PKK was possibly responsible it is very probable that even if ISIS was behind the attack the Turkish Government will blame the kurds.

Nearly 50 dead
• Dozens more injured
• Reports ISIS responsible

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Ataturk – UPDATE 5:23PM EDT: Turkish state television is now reporting that there were three separate “suicide attackers” who opened fire with automatic weapons prior to detonating suicide vests killing considerably more people than the ten first reported.

The death toll, according to an Istanbul official, is now at 28 with over sixty injured and a number of those in critical condition.

Ataturk Airport is “one of the most secure airports in the world,” CNN senior law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes says. But the airport has been “very overwhelmed for several decades with terrorism from PKK.”

While Fuentes specifically mentioned the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, the latest attack bears the mark of ISIS rather than a PKK attack and occurred on the same day that Turkey signed a peace agreement with Israel.

UPDATE 4:16PM EDT: Turkish officials are scrambling to provide the world with more details on the attack on the Ataturk Airport’s international terminal. It’s believed that the attackers opened fire in the airport with AK-47s before blowing themselves up about 100 meters from each others leaving 11 dead. The attack comes the day after the United States State Department warned U.S. citizens against traveling to Turkey and avoiding the eleventh largest airport in the world that sees over 40 million international travelers arriving and departing each year.

While flights were briefly suspended, it’s believed that the airport is doing its best to continue servicing both arrivals and departures, albeit, with delays.

Terrorism experts are largely blaming ISIS for the attacks simply based on the fact that the PKK generally targets the Turkish military and police forces.

UPDATE 3:45PM EDT: While details remain lean, recent bombings in Istanbul have rocked the city including an earlier attack this month that left 12 police dead when there bus was attacked in a suicide bombing.

The PKK, a Kurdish separatist group, claimed responsibility for the attack. Turkey’s tourism industry has been targeted by both ISIS and the PKK and threatens a multi-billion dollar industry that largely fuels the Turkish economy. Tourism was already hobbled by Russian sanctions following Turkey’s downing of a Russian bomber-fighter in December.

Reports are coming out that the explosions targeted the departure gates of Ataturk’s international terminal.

Ataturk Airport has been a security concern for sometime and it appears that the attacks were perpetrated by two suicide attackers as they approached the first security perimeter after police opened fire on the attackers that ran past security.

It’s believed that the quick reaction of the officers who fired at the attackers saved numerous lives as they approached more populated parts of the airport.

As of 3:58 PM EDT, an unnamed Turkish official is reporting to CNN that there have been no less than ten people killed in the attack.

Reports are coming in that at least one explosion, if not two, have rocked Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport this evening with gunfire from a parking lot being directed toward those fleeing the terminal where the explosions occurred.

While details are scarce and still coming in, Reuters is reporting “multiple injuries and possible deaths.”

Obviously, explosions at airports as well as gunfire begs terrorist attack, there is far too little information to speculate on who was responsible for the attack. Turkey has been reeling from a stepped up campaign of bombings by Kurdish separatist groups aimed at police forces and military attacks but an attack by other groups including ISIS, certainly can’t be ruled out for even a moment.

We will update this story as more information becomes available. [Scroll on top for latest updates]

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About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at [email protected]

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