Istanbul attack

Two explosions rocked Turkey’s largest airport on Tuesday leaving at least 36 people dead and 147 others injured. The death toll is expected to rise up to 50, one senior Turkish official told theAssociated Press.

Security guards exchanged gunfire with two suspects carrying AK-47 rifles at 10pm on Tuesday before both attackers detonated suicide bombs as they reached the first security checkpoint at the Ataturk airport in Istanbul. A third assailant detonated his explosives in the airport’s parking lot, Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin told several Turkish media outlets.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded by urging Western countries to take a firm stance against terrorism.

“The bombs that went off in Istanbul today could have gone off in any city in the world, in any airport. I want everyone to understand that, to the terrorists, there is no difference between Istanbul and London, Ankara and Berline, Izmir and Chicago,” President Erdogan said in a written statement.

“Unless we come together as all countries and as all people, and fight against the terrorists together, all possibilities that we can’t even dare think of right now will come true.”

The suspects were reportedly armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles. Video footage shows people running for cover inside the terminal building.

One witness told NBC News that he saw a police officer wrestle a suicide bomber to the ground before the attack detonated his bomb.

After closing for several hours, the airport has reopened and flights reaching the US have continued as planned. The Ataturk is the third busiest European airport following London’s Heathrow and the Charles De Gaulle in Paris.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s heinous terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport in Turkey, which appears to have killed and injured dozens,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

“We remain steadfast in our support for Turkey, our NATO Ally and partner, along with all of our friends and allies around the world, as we continue to confront the threat of terrorism.”

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