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Breaking News…Istanbul Airport Attacked

Source:cnn.com

At least 36 people are dead and at least 147 are wounded after three terrorists armed with guns and bombs attacked Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, Turkish officials said.

Turkish and U.S. officials say they suspect ISIS involvement in the incident.

Turkey has seen a spate of deadly attacks in recent months.

THE ATTACK

The attackers, carrying guns, arrived at the airport via taxi. Preliminary findings suggest all three opened fire then detonated themselves using suicide vests.

Two of them were at the international terminal and the third one was in a nearby parking lot, a Turkish official tells CNN.

Video from inside the terminal appears to show an attacker detonating a bomb.

Police fired shots at the suspects near the international terminal in an effort to neutralize them, according to a Turkish official.

THE INVESTIGATION

Although there have been no claims of responsibility, ISIS militants are suspected to be behind the airport attack, Turkish officials say.

“The signs point to Daesh but investigation is ongoing,” said Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. Daesh is another name for ISIS.

U.S. officials also say the attack bears the hallmarks of ISIS because of its target and method, using weapons and explosions.

The PKK, the Kurdish militant separatists who resumed hostilities with Turkey last year, are less likely to be behind the attack because that group tends to target military and security installations, officials said.

As CNN has reported previously, counterterrorism officials are bracing for more attacks like this across Europe. “This is sadly the new normal,” one U.S. official said.

The airport will remain closed to flights temporarily, according to the airport’s official Twitter account.

 

TURKISH RESPONSE

Turkish officials called for unity in the wake of the attacks and condemned the violence.

President Tayyip Erdogan said that the attack, which took place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, “shows that terrorism strikes with no regard for faith and values.”

“This attack has also exposed once again the evil face of the terrorist organizations which target innocent civilians,” he said.

Yildirim, addressing the nation on television, said that terrorism threatens all countries and that global cooperation is needed to beat it back.

“Solidarity is the best answer to today’s attack,” he said.

AMERICAN RESPONSE

The Obama administration strongly condemned the attack.

“Ataturk International Airport, like Brussels Airport which was attacked earlier this year, is a symbol of international connections and the ties that bind us together,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a prepared statement. “We remain steadfast in our support for Turkey, our NATO ally and partner, along with all of our friends and allies around the world, as we continue to confront the threat of terrorism.

President Obama was briefed on the attack by Lisa Monaco, his homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, according to a White House official.

A U.S. State Department official told CNN all personnel at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul have been accounted for. “We are making every effort to account for the welfare of U.S. citizens in the city,” the official said.

 

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