(CN) — At least 36 people were killed and as many as 147 others were injured Tuesday when three suicide bombers attacked Istanbul Atatürk Airport, the largest airport in Turkey and the third-largest airport in all of Europe.
Turkey’s justice minister, Bekir Bozdag, said two explosions occurred shortly after 10 p.m. local time Turkey.
The justice minister said after a preliminary investigation, it appears a pair of suicide bombers were working their way toward airport security at two different locations when they were confronted by police. One of the bombers, armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, exchanged gunfire with the authorities. The pair then detonated their explosives.
NTV, a private broadcaster located in Turkey is reporting that there were actually two separate incidents at the airport, with explosions occurring at both the domestic and international terminal. This information has not been independently confirmed.
NTV is also quoting Istanbul’s provincial governor as saying authorities believe at least one other individual was involved in the attacks.
Witnesses said in the immediate aftermath of the incident taxi drivers ferried the injured to a local hospital. There are now 30 ambulances at the scene.
The airport, which serves some 61 million passengers a year, is now closed. International flights scheduled to arrive at the airport tonight are being rerouted, officials said.
According to the White House, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco briefed the President on the airport attack. – Developing story.
Photo caption 1:
Medics and security members work at the entrance of the Ataturk Airport after explosions in Istanbul, Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (IHA via AP)
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