Istanbul airport attack: What we know so far

Istanbul's busiest airport has been targeted in a deadly gun and bomb attack.

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Here's what we know so far about the attack on Ataturk Airport.

  • What happened?

This is the weapon believed to have been used in the attack Credit: Reuters

Turkish officials have said they believe there were three attackers involved in three separate explosions.

They opened fire with Kalashnikov rifles before blowing themselves up.

One attacker detonated his explosives downstairs at the arrivals terminal, one went upstairs and blew himself up in the departure hall, and the third waited outside for the fleeing crowd and caused the final lethal blast, two Turkish officials said.

None of the attackers was Turkish, another source said.

Surveillance footage posted on social media showed one explosion, a ball of fire that sent terrified passengers racing for cover. Another showed an attacker, felled by a gunshot from a security officer, blowing himself up seconds later.

Police say they fired shots in an attempt to "neutralise" the suspects.

CCTV footage from inside the airport showed people running in panic before a powerful explosion caused the ceiling to collapse.

  • How many people have been killed?

Ambulances at the scene. Credit: Reuters

At least 42 people are confirmed dead after the attack on Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, the city's governor has said.

The Istanbul governor's office added that 239 people were injured.

The Turkish Health minister has said 41 people remain in intensive care.

Among the dead are 13 foreign nationals: five Saudis, two Iraqis, one Chinese, one Jordanian, one Tunisian, one Uzbek, one Iranian and one Ukrainian.

  • What have witnesses said?

One of the attackers at Istanbul airport "randomly opened fire" in the terminal building before explosions went off, tourist Paul Roos told Reuters.

Mr Roos said two explosions were heard followed by more shooting and a third explosion.

Mr Roos, 77, a South African tourist who was with his wife, said: "We came right to international departures and saw the man randomly shooting. He was just firing at anyone coming in front of him. He was wearing all black. His face was not masked. I was 50 metres away from him.

"We ducked behind a counter but I stood up and watched him. Two explosions went off shortly after one another. By that time he had stopped shooting.

"He turned around and started coming towards us. He was holding his gun inside his jacket. He looked around anxiously to see if anyone was going to stop him and then went down the escalator ... We heard some more gunfire and then another explosion, and then it was over."

Witnesses have said that they saw taxis taking away wounded people from the airport before emergency services arrived.

Another eyewitness told NBC news that they saw a police officer tackle one of the suicide bombers to the ground, shortly before he set the bomb off.

A passenger stranded on a plane on the tarmac at the airport told ITV News that passengers were shocked but quite calm on the plane, although they were not expecting to be able to leave the cabin for hours.

Footage has emerged on social media of people in the airport being told to stay close down to the ground.

  • Who is responsible?

This CCTV image, published by Turkish media, claims to show one of the alleged attackers at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport moments before the terror attack.

Turkish media said this CCTV image showed one of the airport attackers. Credit: Haber Turk

Senior officials told AP initial indications suggest Islamic State group is behind airport attack.

ITV News Security Editor Rohit Kachroo said suspicion would immediately fall on so-called Islamic State and Kurdish militants, but neither have publicly claimed responsibility.

The airport is the third-busiest in Europe, and this attack is the biggest attack on a major airport in recent years.

The US State Department had only on Monday issued a warning to its citizens warning them of "increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey" and to avoid travelling to southern Turkey.

  • What now?

Armed security at Ataturk airport Credit: Reuters

Some flights to Ataturk have been diverted, with all flights between the US and Turkey being suspended.

British Airways cancelled three flights to Istanbul on Wednesday, while Iran has suspended all flights to Istanbul "until the safety and security [of its citizens] are guaranteed".

Turkish Airlines resumed services in and out of the city's airport with 12 hours of the attacks, although many flights were rescheduled.

Workers are currently undertaking repairs on the airport.