(Diya TV) — At least 28 people have been killed and 60 wounded in a terror attack Istanbul Ataturk Airport in Turkey, Istanbul Gov. Vasip Sahin said early Wednesday. Three bombers were also killed, the governor said. The series of deadly explosions tore through the airport Tuesday evening, in an attack which officials blamed on the Islamic State terror group.
Shortly before the blasts, assailants armed with AK-47 assault rifles exchanged gunfire with security guards outside the airport’s international terminal, officials said. Soon after, the gunmen detonated what are believed to be suicide bombs, they added.
A witness told Reuters that just before the explosions began, one of the gunmen opened fire at random as he walked through the terminal.
“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,” said Paul Roos, 77, a South African tourist on his way back to Cape Town with his wife.
“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,” Roos said.
“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.”
Footage captured on one of the airport’s security cameras has been circulating on social media, showing one of the attackers just before he was shot by a security guard. The footage, which has yet to be verified, shows the attacker dropping what appears to be an assault rifle before collapsing to the floor. Seconds later, he appears to activate a suicide bomb.
“There were the sounds of gunfire, it was like thunder, then there was a fireball everywhere,” a taxi driver, named as Fatih, told CNNTurk. “My front window blew out, the car in front of me was turned into scrap.”
Fatih added that at the most, two minutes passed between the exchange of gunfire and the sound of bombs exploding.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pleaded for all governments, especially those in Western countries, to take a “firm stand against terror.”
“The bombs that exploded in Istanbul today could have gone off at any airport in any city around the world. Make no mistake: For terrorist organizations, there is no difference between Istanbul and London, Ankara and Berlin, Izmir and Chicago or Antalya and Rome,” he said in a statement.
“Unless all government and the entire mankind join forces in the fight against terrorism, much worse things than what we fear to imagine today will come true.”
Turkey has been on a high state of terror alert after a series of attacks this year, two deadly bombings earlier this year in Istanbul were also blamed on the Islamic State jihadis. In early June a car suicide bomb killed 12 people in the central Vezneciler district of Istanbul in an attack claimed by radical Kurdish militants.