At least forty-four people were killed and 239 injured in last week’s terrorist attack on Turkey’s largest airport, Istanbul Atatürk. The airport is Europe’s third busiest airport, following London’s Heathrow and the Charles De Gaulle in Paris.
Most of those killed were Turkish citizens, but 13 were foreign nationals. Five were from Saudi Arabia, two from Iraq, and one each from Tunisia, Uzbekistan, China, Iran, Ukraine and Jordan.
The Turkish Ministry of Justice said that two terrorists blew themselves up outside the security checkpoint at the entry to the airport’s international terminal. A third terrorist blew himself up in the terminal’s parking lot. Police officers at the checkpoint were fired upon from a close range by one or two of the attackers, and returned fire – but the two men blew themselves up.
No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said based on a preliminary investigation, “all signs point to ISIS.”
“According to analyses by our security forces, first indications point at DAESH (ISIS) as perpetrators,” Yildirim said during a press conference at the airport. “What is noteworthy is that this attack came at a time when our country is putting up a merciless fight against separatist terrorism and recording significant success.”
Recent months have seen an increase in terrorist attacks against Turkish civilians. These attacks have been carried out by both ISIS Islamists and PKK Kurdish separatists.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also condemned the attacks and urged Western countries to take a stronger stance against terrorism.
The attack showed “the dark face of terror that targets innocent civilians,” he said. “Make no mistake: For terrorist organizations, there is no difference between Istanbul and London, Ankara and Berlin, Izmir and Chicago, or Antalya and Rome. Unless we come together as all countries and as all people, and fight against the terrorists together, all possibilities that we can’t even dare think of right now will come true.”