Islamic terrorists suspected in attack, but no organization has claimed responsibility
The casualties continue to rise in the hours after three attackers entered Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST) and detonated suicide bombs inside the international terminal. The Associated Press reports the death toll has risen to 41 people, while a total of 239 were wounded.
Of the 41 killed, the Istanbul Governor’s Office says 37 have been identified. The Guardian reports 13 were from other countries, including China, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan. Three of those killed were dual citizens with Turkey.
The investigation is now focusing on the three perpetrators and determining their motives for the assault on Europe’s third busiest air hub. According to Reuters, Turkish officials believe the three men arrived to the airport by taxi, before launching the assault. Once they were engaged by police officers, investigators say closed-circuit cameras showed them detonating suicide bombs. Although ISIS is considered the prime suspect in the attacks, no terrorist group has come forward to claim responsibility.
The airport iwas closed for several hours after the attacks, but has since reopened for limited flights. As of press time, FlightAware.com reported 49 flights departing IST have been cancelled so far, while 72 flights bound for the airport will not depart. Turkish Airlines has cancelled 98 flights in the aftermath, reflecting eight percent of their schedule. The flag carrier is offering passengers flying between June 28 and July 5 free waivers to change flights, or cancel flights with a refund option.
While America’s legacy carriers have not issued a statement about the attacks, the U.S. State Department has condemned the situation, reassuring their stance with Turkey in a statement. The Bureau of Consular Affairs reissued a travel warning for Turkey, cautioning flyers to “exercise heightened vigilance and caution when visiting public access areas, especially those heavily frequented by tourists.”
The event marks the second terrorist attack targeting an airport in 2016, as well as the second explosion at an Istanbul airport in the past seven months. In December 2015, an explosion at Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) killed one person and damaged several aircraft.