Istanbul, the megalopolis on the Bosporus, has been stricken again at the heart: its most important airport, the third-largest in Europe, where over 61 million passengers transited so far in 2016. Ataturk International is a passage node between the East and the West well representing Turkey’s singular cultural and strategic position in that area which connects two worlds, melting them. The toll is severe: 44 are dead and 239 wounded, 40 of whom were in very critical conditions, after three terrorists opened fire at the entrance gates of the international arrivals hall and then blew themselves up Tuesday night.
It has been understood, from the first reconstructions, that the terrorists carried out a multiple suicidal action, showing a noticeable operative capability: dressed in black and without any facial coverings they first attacked the external part of the arrivals area, near the parking lot, to draw out the security forces; immediately after that, a second suicide bomber reached the check-in tables, left partially uncovered and, finally, a third terrorist took advantage of the confusion and successfully went beyond the control scanners and blew himself up, despite his wounds. The surveillance cameras show a clash between the suicide bomber and a security agent trying to block him and the same attacker who, immediately after that, explodes.
The attack has not been claimed, but the investigations converge on the hypothesis that it was carried out by an Islamic State cell. It seems to be the same dynamics of the bloody attacks in Paris and Brussels. The Turkish newspapers’ front-pages expressed outrage. “Damn!” “Child killers.” “Barbarians.” The population is in a state of shock. In Turkey, the opposition is denouncing the failures in security. It seems that, on Tuesday morning, in the hours before the attack, the attackers came to scope out the airport, as shown by some recordings made by surveillance cameras.