IS believed to be behind Istanbul airport attack
ISTANBUL -- At least 31 people have been killed and 147 others injured following a terrorist attack at an international airport in Istanbul, according to the Turkish Justice Minister.
The specifics about the attack remain unclear with conflicting reports about the number of alleged attackers and blasts at Ataturk airport, Turkey's biggest international airport and one of the world's busiest airports.
An official told Turkish state broadcaster TRT that two attackers opened fire with machine guns and detonated suicide belts outside the international terminal before passing the first security checkpoint.
Later, the governor of Istanbul said that there were three suicide attackers. A total of 49 ambulances were sent to the airport, according to Turkey's Health Ministry.
The attack took place around 10 p.m. local time, a busy time for the airport, with flights arriving from Europe and leaving for the Persian Gulf and other parts of the region.
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a statement condemning the attack.
"The West should display a resolute stance against this plot," Erdogan said.
A senior U.S. official announced shortly after the attack that all scheduled flights to and from Istanbul have been suspended. Turkey's Ataturk airport is the 11th largest airport in the world, serving 61.8 million total passengers in 2015.
The attack comes one day after the U.S. State Department updated its travel warning for Turkey, advising that "foreign and U.S. tourists have been explicitly targeted by international and indigenous terrorist organizations" and mentioning "aviation services" along with other targets for extremists. In March the U.S. ordered the departure of family members of U.S. government personnel posted to the U.S. Consulate in Adana and family members of U.S. government civilians in Izmir province through July 26, 2016.
Turkey is one of the main European tourist destinations for Americans. A total of 181,298 U.S. tourists have arrived in Turkey so far this year, with 60,000 arriving last month alone.
All U.S. Chief of Mission personnel have been accounted for, according to the U.S. State Department, and the government is "making every effort to account for the welfare of U.S. citizens in the city."
Turkey has been dealing with multiple security threats from the Kurdish separatist group the PKK, as well as ISIS.
Earlier this month, a car bomb attack on a police bus killed seven officers and four civilians in central Istanbul. Today's attack was the fifth major one so far this year in the city, Turkey's largest.
- UF professors in Brussels during terrorism attacks
- Probe Points to a Car Bomb Behind Attack
- Neighbors say man arrested for planning terror attack has autism
- Third Attack Near UF & Police Release Surveillance Vid Of Man Believed To Be Suspect
- Athletes, Families Weigh Security Concerns Amid Sochi Terror Threats
- 2 Arrested in Canada Terror Plot
- New Terror Plot Threat for Americans
- Terror Threats In UK Continue
- Police Standoff with Terror Suspect Enters 2nd Day
- France Imposes Terror Alert