ISTANBUL – The incident happened on Tuesday when three suspected Islamic State group suicide bombers attacked the international terminal of Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.
Around 36 people are dead and 147 are injured, Turkish PM Binali Yildrim and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said.
In recent months, Turkey has faced several bombings linked to Kurdish or Islamic State group militants.
Turkish airport have security checks at both the ends be it entrance of terminal buildings and departure gates.
The senior official said, “50 people had already died, but later said that the death figure could reach much higher.”
Yildirim said “three suicide bombers were responsible for the attack and all initial indications suggest the Islamic State group was behind it.”
He further added that the attackers arrived at the airport in a taxi and blew themselves up after opening fire. Most of the people who died includes foreigners while others have suffered minor injuries, he said.
The area near the airport were sealed off just after the attack. There were hundreds of passengers flooding out of the airport and others were sitting on the grass.
Hevin Zini, 12, had just arrived from Duesseldorf, Germany, with her family and was in tears from the shock.
“There was blood on the ground,” “Everything was blown up to bits … if we had arrived two minutes earlier, it could have been us.” Hevin Zini, 12 told The Associated Press.
“We came up from the arrivals to the departures, up the escalator when we heard these shots going off,” Paul Roos said. “There was this guy going roaming around, he was dressed in black and he had a hand gun.”
The victims were taken to Bakirkoy State Hospital just after the incident.
Brussels Airport tweeted its condolences, saying: “Our thoughts are with the victims of the attacks at @istanbulairport.
“We wish them, their relatives & all airport staff strength & courage.”
“We urge the world, especially Western countries, to take a firm stand against terrorism,” Erdogan said in a statement.