41 dead, 239 wounded in Istanbul attack – Official

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Turkish officials have said 41 people were killed and 239 others were injured in Tuesday night’s triple suicide bombing at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.

Among the dead were 13 foreign nationals.

An Iranian and a Ukrainian have been confirmed as the first foreign victims in the Istanbul airport suicide attack, a Turkish official said Wednesday.

“I confirm one Iranian and one Ukrainian national have been killed in yesterday’s terror attack,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Prime Minister Binali Yildrim had said early Wednesday that 36 people were killed, but the figure has now risen according to officials.

Iran’s Tasnim news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi as saying five Iranian nationals had been injured in addition to the person killed.

Turkey has blamed Islamic State jihadists for the suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul’s main international airport.

Witnesses described scenes of terror and panic as the attackers opened fire and then blew themselves up at the entrance to the international arrivals terminal at the Ataturk airport, one of Europe’s busiest hubs.

The assault, at the start of Turkey’s crucial summer tourist season, was the deadliest of four attacks to rock the country’s biggest city this year.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Tuesday’s carnage but Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said “the evidence points to Daesh”, using another name for the jihadist group.

Yildirim told reporters at the scene that the dead included foreigners.

The attack prompted the suspension of all flights at the airport, but operations were resuming on Wednesday with some delays.

Bullet impacts pictured at the airport. AFP PHOTO
‘I can’t find my sister’

An AFP photographer saw bodies covered with sheets at the terminal, which suffered considerable damage but was being repaired on Wednesday.

Bullet holes peppered the windows and shattered glass lay on the floor, while abandoned luggage was scattered everywhere.

Hundreds of police and firefighters including forensic officers were at the scene.

“Somebody came and shot at us and then my sister ran,” Otfah Mohamed Abdullah told AFP.

“I don’t know which way she ran and after that I fell down. I was on the ground till he (the gunman) stopped… I can’t find my sister.”

“Everybody started running in different directions when the shooting started. I hid under the counter where I was standing and a couple of the ground staff did the same,” South African university administrator Judy Favish told eNCA television in her home country.

Favish said she and other travellers were ushered to the basement before emerging about two hours later.

“We walked through the airport and saw debris and blood. It was just chaos. It was horrible.”

There was chaos at the nearest hospital in Istanbul’s Bakirkoy district, which was inundated with relatives desperate for news of loved ones.

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Published on: January 5, 2023. at: 07:29
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