Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport hit by terrorist attack

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Three armed attackers have carried out a terrorist attack at Istanbul Ataturk Airport in Turkey, killing 41 people and injuring 239 others, according to government officials.

The three attackers began shooting outside and inside the main terminal last night (June 28) and then blew themselves up after the police fired at them. While no one has claimed responsibility yet, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said early signs suggested the so-called Islamic State was behind the attack.

Flights in and out of the airport were initially suspended following the attack but have now resumed, although BBC News reported that about one-third have been canceled and many others are delayed.

In a statement released today (June 29), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed outrage at last night’s attack. “Once again, innocent travelers have been attacked in a cowardly and murderous act. Our thoughts are with the victims, and their families and friends,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.

“Air transport brings people together and facilitates both social and economic development. Istanbul has a particularly significant and historical role in connecting East and West. Last night’s attack was a broad attack on our shared humanity. But terrorism will never succeed in reversing the interconnectedness of the world. The desire of the human spirit to explore and trade will always triumph over suspicion and fear. That Istanbul airport is operating today is a testament to the resilience and determination of the Turkish people and the aviation industry. We stand together in solidarity-confident that we will emerge stronger and more united in our resolve to keep connecting our world,” said Tyler.

“The safety and security of passengers are our top priorities. This tragedy in Istanbul and the one in Brussels earlier this year show that there is a growing challenge for governments to keep people safe in the ‘landside’ parts of the airport. Moving people ‘airside’ more quickly can help to mitigate risk. The industry has a number of initiatives in place to achieve that aim and we are working with governments and airports to implement them,” said Tyler.

Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe, commented, “Security is paramount and we the airport industry remain firmly committed to continuously improving the quality and efficiency of security measures. Airports are already among the most regulated spaces in this regard. What happened yesterday in Istanbul shows us that the real challenge now is to stop terrorists before they ever reach an airport or any other public space – I cannot reiterate enough, better intelligence and more effective information exchange and cooperation between the competent public authorities needs to become the highest priority.”

Only flight information was available on the airport’s website this morning owing to a high amount of traffic.

Last updated at 3:45pm 

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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