ISTANBUL – At least 36 people were killed and many others were wounded in a suicide bomb and gun attack on Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport late on June 28, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in a press briefing at the crime scene, adding that findings pointed to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
However, the efforts on the identity of the attackers continues, he said.
The prime minister said three attackers arrived in the airport on a taxi cab and also used guns during the attack. All three attackers exploded themselves and were killed, he added.
Yildirim said there might be foreigners among the victims as police officers were also wounded. The attack was carried out at the international terminal of the airport with a gun attack, he said.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said at least one attacker first opened fire with a Kalashnikov rifle before detonating himself.
A witness told CNN Türk that gunfire was heard from the car park at the airport. A number of ambulances were also deployed to the scene, while taxis also transported wounded people to hospitals, according to an eyewitness speaking to CNN Türk.
Terror shakes Istanbul hours after Turkey’s big diplomatic campaign to mend Russia, Israel ties
ISTANBUL – Another terror attack shook Turkey late on June 28 at a time when the country launched a multiway diplomatic attack to mend its broken ties with both Israel and Russia following major disputes.
At least 28 people were killed, according to Istanbul Gov. Vasip Şahin, in the attack on Istanbul Atatürk International Airport, the biggest in the country, carried out by three militants.
Less than a day before the attack, Turkey and Israel inked a deal to normalize ties after six years of strained relations following the halt after Israeli commandoes killed 10 Turkish pro-Palestinian activists on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla in May 2010. Activists were trying to breach Israel’s Gaza blockade.
Officials from both countries bluntly said both sides would benefit from the deal.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a letter to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on June 27 to express his deep sorrow over the downing of a Russian warplane last year for violating the Turkish airspace during operations in Syria. Russia responded positively to the efforts. Tour operators from both countries hailed the contact, which tends to improve.
Still, just one day before the attack, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced that the country voiced readiness for normalizations of ties with Egypt which deteriorated after the military coup staged by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in July 2013, as Turkey reacted to the ousting of Mohamad Morsi with strongly-worded statements from Erdoğan, who was prime minister at the time.
Analysts have already started to compare the airport attack with several ones in the past year, including the deadliest one in the country’s history, the Ankara bombing carried out by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants on Oct. 10, 2015.
The timing of the June 28 bombing does not only overlap with Ankara’s diplomatic campaign to mend ties with the region’s other powers, but also some other major moves against the jihadist ISIL, which is also threatening the country’s borders.
A total of 36 suspects in the deadly ISIL bomb attack in the capital Ankara last year are facing up to 11,750 years of jail time, according to the indictment finalized by the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office on June 28.
The indictment listed ISIL militant Yunus Emre Alagöz and an unnamed Syrian militant as the suicide bombers who committed the attack. Alagöz’s brother, Abdurrahman Alagöz, committed an attack in Suruç in the southeast on July 20, 2015, killing 33 young activists.
Besides, Turkey changed its military rules of engagement to allow NATO allies to carry out more patrol flights along its border with northern Syria against ISIL, Reuters quoted a Turkish official as saying on June 28.
Analyst did not rule out the possibility that such a large attack could also be carried out by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), citing the recent military campaign against the outlawed group in several provinces in the southeast.
Regardless of the identity or goals of the terrorist group behind the airport attack, it leaves no room for doubt that the bombing targets peace efforts by Ankara if it is not a response to it.
Over 30 killed, 140+ injured as blasts rock Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, RT.com, June 28, 2016
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