The Latest: Albanian PM lands at time of Istanbul attack

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

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.”


2:35 a.m.

Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag says at least 31 people have been killed and some 147 wounded in the attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.

Another senior government official says the death toll could climb much higher.

The senior official at first said close to 50 people had already died, but later said that the figure was expected to rise to close to 50.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol, also said all initial indications suggest the Islamic State group was behind the attack.


1:40 a.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has released a statement condemning the attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, which took place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He says the attack “shows that terrorism strikes with no regard to faith and values.”

He has called on the international community to take a firm stand against terrorism and vowed to keep up Turkey’s struggle against terror groups.

Erdogan says “Turkey has the power, determination and capacity to continue the fight against terrorism until the end.”


1:20 a.m.

A senior Turkish government official has told The Associated Press all initial indications suggest the Islamic State group is behind the attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.

The official also as many as four militants may have been involved in the attack Tuesday at the airport’s international terminal.

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


This item has been corrected to remove retracted reference to nearly 50 people killed.


12:55 a.m.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has condemned the attacks on Ataturk airport in Istanbul that have killed at least 28 people.

He says on the sidelines of an ecumenical Iftar dinner in Berlin that he’s shocked by the news.

He says the background of the attacks is still unclear, “but everything suggests that terrorists have once again hit the Turkish metropolis.

“We grieve for the victims and with the relatives. We stand by Turkey.”


12:50 a.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says officials are still trying to figure out who attacked the Ataturk airport in Istanbul and what exactly happened.

Kerry was speaking at the Festival of Ideas in Aspen, Colorado.

He says “This is daily fare and that’s why I say the first challenge we need to face is countering non-state, violent actors.”


12:40 a.m.

Hundreds of passengers are flooding out of Istanbul’s Ataturk airport after an attack that killed at least 28 people.

Twelve-year-old Hevin Zini had just arrived from Dusseldorf with her family and was in tears from the shock.

She tells The Associated Press that there was blood on the ground and everything was blown up to bits.

South African Judy Favish, who spent two days in Istanbul as a layover on her way home from Dublin, had just checked in when she heard an explosion followed by gunfire and a loud bang.

She says she hid under the counter for some time.

Favish says passengers were ushered to a cafeteria at the basement level where they were kept for more than an hour before being allowed outside.


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.

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