Death toll climbs as Istanbul airport reopens after attack

ISTANBUL (AP) – The Latest on the explosions at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport (all times local):

2:10 p.m.

The Istanbul Governor’s Office says 41 people have been killed in the deadly suicide bombing attack in Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. Thirty-seven of the victims have been identified, according to the statement posted on the governor’s website. The death toll included 10 foreign nationals and 3 holding dual citizenships. Tuesday’s attack left 239 people wounded but 109 have been discharged, according to the same source.


1:50 p.m.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the attacks on Ataturk airport in Istanbul that killed 36 people.

In a statement released to media Wednesday, the ministry says “we offer our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families and to the brotherly people and government of Turkey” and that Pakistan reiterates its condemnation of terrorism “in all forms and manifestations”.


1:45 p.m.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says he is deeply saddened by the terrorist attack the previous night at the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul.

In a statement released Wednesday, Ghani says that “the people of Afghanistan feel the pain and suffering of the people of Turkey more than others, as we have been the victim of terrorism for years.”

Ghani added that he considers terrorism a great threat for the security of the region and the world, and reiterated that joint action by all countries is needed.


1:40 p.m.

The Palestinian ambassador to Turkey says a Palestinian woman was killed in the blasts at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport and six Palestinians were injured, including a 17-year-old girl from the Gaza Strip who suffered critical injuries.

Ambassador Faed Mustafa confirmed the death and injuries to Palestinian media Wednesday.

Nisreen Melhem, 28, from the West Bank town of Arraba, was killed and her 34-year-old husband and 3-year-old daughter were injured, according to Moath Hamed, a Palestinian journalism student visiting the family in the hospital.

The Palestinians were living and working in Saudi Arabia and had landed in Istanbul for vacation.


1:30 p.m.

Pope Francis has denounced the “brutal terrorist attack” at Istanbul’s airport and is calling for the killers behind it to change their ways.

In a noontime blessing from his studio window, Francis said he was praying for the victims, their families “and the dear Turkish people.” He asked the entire piazza to pray in silence and then led the crowd in the Hail Mary prayer.

He said: “May the Lord convert the hearts of the violent ones and support our efforts toward the path of peace.”


1:25 p.m.

The Istanbul Governor’s Office says 41 people have been killed in the deadly suicide bombing attack in Istanbul’s Ataturk airport blamed on the Islamic State group.

A statement on the governor’s website says 37 of the victims have been identified, including 10 foreign nationals and three people with dual citizenship. More than 230 people were wounded in the attack, but 109 have been discharged from hospitals.

A Turkish official who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol says the death toll does not include three suicide bombers who died.

The Palestinian ambassador to Turkey says a Palestinian woman was among the dead. Separately, the Turkish official said five Saudis, two Iraqis, one Tunisian, an Uzbek, a Chinese, an Iranian, a Ukrainian and a Jordanian national were killed.


12:45 p.m.

Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen is “crying with the Turkish people who once again are witnesses to a cowardly terrorist attack.”

Nordic and Baltic governments condemned Wednesday the attack at Istanbul’s main airport that killed 36 people and wounded scores of others.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg tweeted her “thoughts are with those who lost their lives, the wounded and their loved ones.”

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics conveyed “his deepest sympathies” while Finland Prime Minister Juha Sipila sent his condolences to his Turkish counterpart, Binali Yildirim.

The region’s foreign ministries said there were no reports of Nordic or Baltic victims.


12:35 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered his condolences to Turkey which was hit by suicide attacks on Tuesday, killing dozens at Istanbul’s airport.

Following a statement in Moscow Putin is expected to offer his condolences in the telephone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, their first conversation in seven months after Russia froze its ties with Turkey in response to Turkey shooting down its military jet.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that the attacks at the Ataturk airport are “just another reminder of the importance of joint efforts to fight our common threat – terrorism.”


12:25 p.m.

Greece’s Foreign Ministry has expressed “rage and revulsion” over the attacks at Istanbul airport, condemning the suicide bomb attacks that claimed the lives of at least 36 people.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that a Greek consular team had gone to the airport immediately after the blasts to provide assistance to Greek citizens to ensure they were transported safely to hotels in the city, and the Greek Consulate in Istanbul was working to help repatriate citizens. The ministry said there were no indications that any Greeks were among the casualties of the attacks.

Istanbul has a resident Greek community and is also a popular destination for visiting Greek tourists.


11:40 a.m.

Turkish officials say an Iranian and a Ukrainian are among victims of Istanbul airport attack.

Tuesday’s attack at the city’s main Ataturk Airport killed 36 people and wounded scores of others. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the Islamic State group was behind the attack. He said three suicide bombers attacked the airport with automatic weapon fire before blowing themselves up.


11:05 a.m.

France’s foreign minister has condemned the attack on Istanbul’s airport as “odious and cowardly.”

Offering condolences, Jean-Marc Ayrault assured that France “is at Turkey’s side in the fight against terrorism.”

As usual in such circumstances, France opened a crisis cell to maintain close contact with Turkish authorities, and provides any needed instructions to the French community there.

Ayrault counseled prudence to French people in Turkey, a prime destination for French tourists.


10:55 a.m.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, whose plane landed in Istanbul minutes after the attacks on Istanbul’s airport, has expressed his condolences to the victims.

Rama said in a message on Twitter that he felt “deep pity for the lost innocent lives in that barbarous act of those who have neither God or hope nor a place among the people.”

Rama, Finance Minister Arben Ahmetaj and a delegation on Wednesday are on an official visit to Turkey. Rama said all of the planned meetings would go ahead.


10:25 a.m.

Turkish officials say Istanbul’s busy Ataturk International Airport has reopened, hours after three suicide bombers killed 36 and wounded 147.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters that air traffic returned to normal and “Our airport has been opened to flights and departures from 02:20 (local time) on,” in a press statement at the airport early Wednesday morning.

Turkish Airline’s website says “flight operations have been restarted” and instructs passengers to monitor actual flight information.


9:45 a.m.

Germany’s top security official is condemning the attack on Istanbul’s airport as “cowardly and brutal.”

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said his thoughts were with the victims and their families, and vowed that “we will continue our fight against terrorism together with our allies with full force.”

De Maiziere said in a statement Wednesday he was “deeply shocked by the cowardly and brutal attack on Istanbul’s airport.”

He says “terrorism has once again shown its ugly face and innocent people have lost their lives.”


9:30 a.m.

NATO’s chief has strongly condemned the “horrific attacks” at Istanbul’s airport, and said Turkey’s 27 allies in the U.S-led political and military organization stand with it.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary-general, said in a statement: “My thoughts are with the families of the victims, those injured and the people of Turkey.

“There can be no justification for terrorism,” Stoltenberg said. “NATO Allies stand in solidarity with Turkey, united in our determination to fight terrorism in all its forms.”


8:00 a.m.

Officials on Wednesday morning began assessing the damage caused at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport by three suicide bombers who killed dozens and wounded more than 140.

Workers were brought in to remove debris left by the blast, while in the daylight the damage to the terminal became clearer with even ceiling panels hit.

The airport was partially reopened, with the information board inside the airport showing that about one third of scheduled flights have been canceled, with a host of others delayed.


5 a.m.

A stoppage of flights to and from the United States and Istanbul Ataturk Airport lasted several hours but has been lifted, said a U.S. official who spoke on background to discuss sensitive security issues. The official said the stoppage was lifted in the middle of the evening.

The official says 10 passenger flights were in the air, flying from Turkey to the U.S., at the time of the stoppage and they have all landed. However, cargo planes and corporate jets in the U.S. would have been most affected by the stoppage. The official says the decision on lifting the stoppage was made in coordination with the Transportation Security Administration.


Associated Press writer Will Lester in Washington.


4 a.m.

According to the private Dogan news agency, a plane carrying Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama was landing at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport when the attack occurred. He was arriving on an official visit. The prime minister and his entourage were safely taken to an official residence. The group was to travel later on Wednesday to Turkey’s capital, Ankara.


3:50 a.m.

Saudi Arabia’s Embassy in Turkey says at least seven Saudis were injured in the Istanbul airport attack and all are in stable condition.

The embassy statement was carried on Saudi Arabia’s state-owned al-Ekhbaria news channel early Wednesday.

Muslim-majority Turkey is a popular tourist destination for Arabs from the Gulf, particularly during the summer. Tuesday’s attack also comes a week before the Eid holiday, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.


3:25 a.m.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the “terrorist attack” at Istanbu’s Ataturkl airport and is calling for the perpetrators to be identified and brought to justice.

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said the secretary-general “stands firmly by Turkey as it confronts this threat and stresses the need to intensify regional and international efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism.”

Mogens Lykketoft, president of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly, expressed anger and grief at the attack.

“Once again we experience the senseless killing of innocent and peaceful civilians,” he said. “The international community must – through much closer cooperation – redouble efforts to contain and fight radical and violent extremism.”


3:10 a.m.

Turkey’s prime minister says 36 people and three suicide bombers have died in the attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says that so far all indications point to the Islamic State group being behind the attack. He says the attackers arrived at the airport in a taxi and blew themselves up after opening fire.

Asked whether a fourth attacker might have escaped, he says authorities have no such assessment but are considering every possibility.

He says the victims include some foreigners and that many of the dozens wounded have minor injuries but others are more badly hurt.

He says the attacks come as Turkey is having success in fighting terrorism and trying to normalize ties with neighbors like Russia and Israel.


2:45 a.m.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the United States condemns in the strongest terms possible the attacks at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport that killed at least 31 people and left dozens more wounded.

Earnest says the Istanbul airport, like the Brussels airport that was attacked earlier this year, is a symbol of international connections and the ties that bind nations together.

He says the U.S. sends its deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

Earnest says the United States remains steadfast in its support for Turkey, a NATO ally and partner, “along with all of our friends and allies around the world, as we continue to confront the threat of terrorism.”

12:15 a.m.

Turkey’s NTV television is quoting Istanbul’s governor as saying 28 people were killed in the attack at the city’s airport and some 60 people wounded.

Governor Vasip Sahin also told the channel that three suicide bombers carried out the attack Tuesday.

Officials had previously said one or two attackers had blown themselves up at the entrance to the international terminal at the airport after police fired at them.


12:10 a.m.

Hundreds of passengers are spilling out of Istanbul’s Ataturk airport with their suitcases in hand or stacked onto trolleys after two explosions killed at least 10 people.

Others are sitting on the grass, their bodies lit by the flashing lights of ambulances and police cars, which are the only kind of vehicles allowed to reach the airport.

Two South African tourists, Paul and Susie Roos from Cape Town, were at the airport and due to fly home at the time of the explosions Tuesday. They were shaken by what they witnessed.

Paul said: “We came up from the arrivals to the departures, up the escalator when we heard these shots going off.”

He added: “There was this guy going roaming around, he was dressed in black and he had a hand gun.”


11:40 p.m.

European Union leaders holding an unprecedented summit about Britain’s departure from the bloc are condemning a deadly attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel tweeted from a closed-door meeting Tuesday in Brussels, “Despicable terror attack. Stand together with people of Turkey.”

Dalia Grybauskaite, president of Lithuania, wrote “Our thoughts are with the victims of the attacks at Istanbul airport. We condemn those atrocious acts of violence.”

The 28 EU leaders are meeting for an exceptional summit at which Prime Minister David Cameron announced his country has voted to leave the EU. They are also discussing migration via Turkey to the EU.

Two explosions rocked Istanbul’s Ataturk airport Tuesday, killing at least 10 people.


11 p.m.

A Turkish official says two attackers have blown themselves up at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport after police fire at them.

Turkish media quoted Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag as saying 10 people were killed in the attack on Tuesday.

Turkey’s state-run news agency quoted Bekir Bozdag as saying: “According to the information I was given, a terrorist at the international terminal entrance first opened fire with a Kalashnikov and then blew himself up. We have around 10 martyrs (dead) and around 20 wounded.”

The official said the attackers detonated the explosives at the entrance of the international terminal before entering the x-ray security check.

Turkish airports have security checks at both at the entrance of terminal buildings and then later before entry to departure gates.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol.


10:25 p.m.

A Turkish official says two explosions have rocked Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, wounding multiple people.

The official said Tuesday it was unclear whether the explosions were caused by a suicide attack.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol.

Turkish media reported the sound of gunfire at the scene.

Turkey has suffered several bombings in recent months linked to Kurdish or Islamic State group militants.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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