A triple suicide bombing at Istanbul’s main International airport on Tuesday night has left 41 dead and as many as 239 injured in a suspected Isis attack.
The bombers detonated explosive vests in the arrival hall of Ataturk airport, which is the third busiest in Europe.
Turkish investigators pored over video footage and witness statements on Wednesday.
The attack on Europe’s third-busiest airport was one of the deadliest in a series of suicide bombings in recent months in Turkey, part of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State and struggling to contain spill over from neighbouring Syria’s war.
President Tayyip Erdogan said that “the attack should serve as a turning point in the global fight against terrorism, which he said had no regard for faith or values”.
“One attacker opened fire in the departure hall with an automatic rifle, sending passengers diving for cover and trying to flee, before the three of them blew themselves up in the arrival hall a floor below”, witnesses and officials said.
Video footage showed that one of the attackers inside the terminal building was being shot, apparently by a police officer, before falling to the ground as the people scattered. The attacker then blew himself up around 20 seconds later.
“It’s a jigsaw puzzle … The authorities are going through CCTV footage, witness statements,” a Turkish official said.
The Dogan news agency said autopsies on the three bombers, whose torsos were ripped apart, had been completed and that they may have been foreign nationals, without citing its sources.
Broken ceiling panels littered the kerb outside the arrival section of the international terminal.
Plates of glass had shattered, exposing the inside of the building, and electric cables dangled from the ceiling. Clean-up crews swept up debris and armed police patrolled as flights resumed.
“This attack, targeting innocent people is a vile, planned terrorist act,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters at the scene in the early hours of Wednesday morning. “There is an initial evidence that each of the three suicide bombers blew themselves up after opening fire,” he added.
The attackers had come to the airport by taxi and preliminary findings pointed to Islamic State responsibility.
Two U.S. counter-terrorism officials familiar with the early stages of investigations said Islamic State was at the top of the list of suspects even though there was no evidence yet.