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Summary

  1. Airport attack kills 41 people and injures 239
  2. Three attackers opened fire near a terminal entrance
  3. They blew themselves up after police fired at them, officials say
  4. Five Saudi nationals and 23 Turkish citizens among the dead
  5. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says so-called Islamic State could be behind the attack

Live Reporting

By Nalina Eggert and Hugo Bachega

All times stated are UK

End of live page coverage

Thank you for having followed our live coverage of the events in Istanbul.

Here is how things stand as we wrap up on Wednesday afternoon:

  • Three gunmen attacked Istanbul's Ataturk airport, the biggest in Turkey, on Tuesday evening and detonated explosives when police shot at them
  • The death toll has risen to 41, of whom most were Turkish nationals - 13 foreigners also died
  • 239 people were injured and nearly half of them have already left hospital
  • Investigators are examining CCTV footage and mobile phone videos to piece together what one official called a "jigsaw puzzle"
  • Nobody has claimed the attack yet
  • Turkey's prime minister says early indications are that the so-called Islamic State group is responsible - they've criticised the Turkish government for allying with the US-led coalition against them
  • The US government, Pope Francis, the head of Nato and the Belgian prime minister were among those to condemn the attack
  • Russia's President Putin offered condolences to Turkey's President Erdogan this morning, the first time they've spoken since Turkey shot a Russian military jet in November

For more details, see the BBC's main story.

132 killed in Turkey so far this year

map of Turkey, showing four attacks in Istanbul and two in Ankara, and their dates and death tolls
BBC

Tuesday's assault brings to 132 the number of people killed in attacks in Turkey so far this year.

The BBC's online Europe editor Paul Kirby writes that a country that used to be "a beacon of stability" has now entered "a period of high tension, fighting Kurdish militants in its restive east and struggling to prevent Islamist militant violence spreading from across its border with Syria".

Read more here.

BBC's Istanbul correspondent on why Turkey is a target

Mark Lowen with a microphone outside the airport
BBC

After being stuck on a plane that arrived in Istanbul last night, the BBC's Turkey correspondent Mark Lowen is back at Ataturk airport.

He's reporting on the reasons why Turkey has been targeted, if it is indeed the so-called Islamic State who have carried out the attack:

  • Turkey is a key partner in the US-led coalition against the so-called Islamic State and is a Nato member
  • The country has a 500-mile (800km) long border with Syria and a 200-mile border with Iraq - IS cells may have been able to get in from areas the group controls
  • A Kurdish militant insurgency has grown in the south-east of Turkey in the past year, meaning Turkey faces a double threat

Mother's terrifying search for 13-year-old daughter

Samira Mohamed Abdi with her father
Samira Mohamed Abdi
Samira Mohamed Abdi was travelling with her father to Mogadishu from Sweden

Samira Mohamed Abdi was in transit in Turkey with her family when the attack happened.

She told the BBC Somali service that, in the rush to hide after the first explosion, her 13-year-old daughter went missing.

We could see the explosion - it was just in front of us. All of a sudden, we saw the security people running up and down and shouting. We all went into hiding in the cafe's store room – about 20 people in a small room. We locked ourselves in as we heard the gunshots, then we realised one of us was missing. It was my saddest moment. I couldn’t locate my daughter."

The girl’s grandfather then rushed out to find her.

He went out while all people were lying on the floor and the gunfire was continuing. He was calling her by her name, ‘Aisha, Aisha! Where are you?’ He found shoes on the floor but they were not hers.”

He couldn’t see her – but 20 minutes later, Samira received a call.

Fortunately, she was hiding somewhere else and she asked a Russian guy to call, and then there was the second explosion.”

She said it took Aisha time to find someone who spoke English to help her, so she could get in touch.    

Turkish newspaper attacks 'weaknesses in the state'

A commentary in the pro-secular Turkish daily newspaper Haberturk has criticised what it calls failings that lead to terrorist attacks,

The Airport Massacre is the latest bloody proof that Turkey, which just four or five years ago was considered a "paradise" by the world, has turned into hell with the motto "War at Home, War in the World." The news agencies are all talking about the "hero cop" (or hero security guard) who jumped on the suicide bomber. If that is so, well done! But we all need to talk about the weaknesses in the state, in intelligence, in security and in "terrorist discrimination." All of us owe a debt to all those people who died in this massacre.

Why Turkey again? The World at One reports from Istanbul

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

At least 41 people are believed to have died and more than 230 injured in a bomb explosion at Ataturk airport in Istanbul on Tuesday night.

The Turkish government say they believe militants from the so-called Islamic State are behind the attack, although no one has yet claimed responsibility.

It is the latest in a wave of terror attacks to hit Turkey this year.

The World at One's Hugh Sykes is in Istanbul's city centre with the Turkish newspaper columnist and author, Mustafa Akyol.

Security check changes 'could make people more vulnerable'

Richard Westcott on the BBC News at One
BBC

The BBC's transport correspondent has told the BBC's News at One programme that although the attack started before the security checks - like the Brussels attack in March - it might be counter-productive to bring the checks closer to the front doors of airports.

He said: "You might think, well OK, let's move these checks further away from the airports, that does happen in some countries around the world.

"They did that in the 1980s at Heathrow after the Lockerbie bomb. I spoke to the man behind that and he said it made the problem worse, because actually you have a big gathering of people away from the airport, on pavements, and they're just as vulnerable if not more vulnerable than they are inside the airport.

"Really the way you stop these things is through intelligence, through finding out they're going to happen in advance.

"You can also train more staff to look out for suspicious circumstances and you can have face recognition on CCTV but there is a limit to what you can do."

Belgian PM tweets sympathy for Turkey

Our thoughts are with the victims of the attacks at Istanbul's airport. We condemn these atrocious acts of violence #Istanbul

The prime minister of Belgium has tweeted his condemnation of the attack in Istanbul.

Charles Michel says he condemns "these atrocious acts of violence".

Just over three months ago, three bombers attacked Brussels airport and a Metro station, killing 32 people.

The attackers also died.

The so-called Islamic State group said it was behind the Belgium attacks, and links emerged between them and the attack on Paris in November, where gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people.

CCTV shows moment of blast

Footage from surveillance cameras shows the moment one of the explosions happened, inside the airport.

Passengers run for cover and some crouch down to avoid the force of the blast and the smoke.

Istanbul airport attack: CCTV shows people running in the terminal as an explosion hits.

Turkish officials work to piece together 'jigsaw puzzle'

The Turkish government says the three attackers arrived in a taxi before shooting people dead in the airport building. They blew themselves up after coming under fire from the police.

An official says the authorities are looking through CCTV footage and interviewing witnesses to establish the details of the "jigsaw puzzle".

The same official said earlier that none of the attackers had got through the security checks at the entrance, so two of the suicide bombings happened inside while the other was outside the building, in a car park.

The BBC has put together a map showing what is believed to be the location of each of the bombs inside the airport.

map showing arrivals terminal (first bomb), first floor departure terminal (second bomb) and car park (third bomb)
BBC

No British victims in Istanbul attack - Cameron

Addressing MPs in the House of Commons, British Prime Minister David Cameron said: "You will join me in condemning the horrific terrorist attacks in Turkey last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were killed and injured and their families

"As yet there are no reports of any UK casualties but the Foreign Office are working urgently with the Turkish authorities to establish the full facts.

"We stand in defiance as one against these barbaric acts."

Funerals begin

The funerals for some of the victims of the Ataturk airport attack have begun in Turkey.

By Muslim tradition, people should be buried as soon as possible after death.

men line the side of a street, four-deep, looking in the same direction
AFP

Siddik Turgan was one of the first to be buried in Istanbul on Wednesday. He was a customs official at the airport.

His daughter reached after her father's coffin as the funeral procession passed by.  

woman in black mourning clothes crying and reaching out, held back by others
AFP

 Taxi driver Mustafa Biyikli was also buried on Wednesday.

mourners around hearse
EPA
men line up in front of Turkish flag as funeral passes
AFP

Local media (in Turkish) published a list of names of the dead.  

Day of national mourning in Turkey

Turkish flags flank a picture of Ataturk in the airport
reuters
Turkish flags flank a picture of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who the airport is named after

Turkey has declared Wednesday a day of national mourning. The government ordered that flags should fly at half mast.

More details on Ataturk airport - a growing hub

It is an international hub, and became the third-busiest airport in Europe in 2015. 

Airports Council International says Ataturk airport was the 11th busiest airport in the world last year, with 61.8 million passengers. It is also one of the fastest-growing airports in the world, seeing 9.2% more passengers last year than in 2014.    

On Wednesday morning, destinations listed on the website's departures section included Tehran in Iran, Munich in Germany, Casablanca in Morocco, Toulouse, Nice and Lyon in France, and Zaporozhye in Ukraine.

Some of the flights had been cancelled or delayed due to the airport being closed during and after the attack on Tuesday evening.

list of departures from the Ataturk airport website
ataturkairport.com

The airport re-opened shortly after 10:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on Wednesday, 12 hours after the attack.

Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey - that's Ankara - but it's by far the country's biggest city. About 14 million people live there.

map of istanbul showing location of Ataturk airport
BBC

Honeymoon couple hid in cupboard

An Iraqi journalist and activist, Steven Nabil, tweeted that he and his new wife were caught up in the attack. They were on their way back from their honeymoon and sheltered from the shooting inside a cupboard in a hairdresser's shop.

Mr Nabil says they pair were like "sitting ducks" and kept boiling water at hand in case a gunman opened the door.

He said it was the "longest 45 minutes ever".

We just left the aiport. My wife was injured during the attack. We were face to face with the attacker while he sprayed #istanbul part1

I ran back got my wife pulled her to store broke in and waited in terror while he was shooting outside the store.we barely made it#istanbul

We were transiting from our honeymoon tonight through #istanbul back to NYC when the bullets were closer i hugged and kissed her

My wife was sitting at nero cafe while i went 3rd floor to get food from sabbaro. Heard shots ran fast toward her.people #istanbul part 1

Came down the stairs to see the court empty and the terrorist firing toward us.carried her arm and ran around sitting ducks part 2#istanbul

#istanbul we then took cover in a closet inside a hair salon.The 45 minutes we were sitting ducks waiting to find out who will open the door

#istanbul The screams of the victims and the blood everywhere didnt allow us to sleep.this child stared at the blood in shock

#istanbul in the closet i was begging my wife to keep calm because the noise might draw any attackers around.looked despeartdly for # part1

#istanbul #part 2 anything sharp to protect her if they opened the door and took hostages. Used a boiling tea water as weapon as

#istanbul as weapon to burn attacker if he found us in the closet so my wife can run while i would distract and attack.longest 45 mins ever

Took this when we made it out of storage room,ran downstairs,we took shelter with others,blood everywhere #istanbul

Took this when we made it out of storage room,ran downstairs,we took shelter with others,blood everywhere #istanbul

Pope condemns Istanbul airport attack

In a mid-day blessing at the Vatican, Pope Francis has spoken out against what he called the "brutal terrorist attack'' in Istanbul.

He said he was praying for the victims, their families "and the dear Turkish people", and asked the assembled crowd to pray in silence.

Condolences from Russia

Dmitry Peskov, May 2016
reuters

The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said the Russian President Vladimir Putin "expresses condolences to the Turkish people" over the airport attack.

He said Mr Putin had spoken to his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, by telephone on Wednesday morning.

Turkish presidential sources say the phone call was "very productive and positive".

It was the first time the leaders had spoken by phone since November when the Turkish military shot down a Russian plane on the Syrian border. Moscow announced a package of sanctions against Turkey after that incident, including the suspension of a Black Sea pipeline that was to provide Russian gas to Turkey.

But relations were already thawing. Earlier this week President Erdogan apologised for the incident, the Kremlin has said.

Five Saudis among dead

A Turkish official has been giving details of the nationalities of 13 foreigners killed in the Istanbul airport attack. 

They were:

  • five from Saudi Arabia
  • two from Iraq 
  • one from China 
  • one from Jordan 
  • one from Tunisia 
  • one from Uzbekistan 
  • one from Iran 
  • one from Ukraine

BreakingDeath toll revised to 41; another 239 injured

Istanbul's governor now says 41 people have died, up from the earlier death toll of 36.

Another 239 people were injured, of whom more than 100 have already been discharged from hospital.

He says 13 of the dead were foreign nationals, including three with dual nationality.

We earlier reported that one Ukrainian person and one Iranian person were among the dead.

Who carried out this attack?

BBC Monitoring

Turkey's prime minister has said early indications are that the so-called Islamic State (IS) group is responsible.

But IS has not claimed the attack.

It has claimed a number of assassinations of Syrian activists in southern Turkey since January, including earlier attacks for which it had not previously claimed credit.

But it has not claimed responsibility for any other attacks on Turkish soil that have been widely attributed to it.  

The group has upped its rhetoric against the Turkish government recently. Since the beginning of this calendar year it has condemned the Turkish authorities and condoned the killing of military and security personnel in its Turkish magazine (issued in January and April).

In its output, IS has strongly criticised the Turkish authorities for its alliances with the US and others as well as for its support of non-IS Syrian opposition. In its news updates it has referred to Turkey more frequently in posts on fighting in northern Syria.

'People didn't know what to do'

Eyewitness Rihards Kalnins tells the BBC of the panic in the airport during the attack.

He says there was "a lot of chaos" as people ran up a corridor that turned out to be a dead end.

Istanbul airport attack: 'The crowd ran into a dead end'

'In the eyes of the world we are not important'

As people react to the attacks on social media, some are saying that the world's attention does not fall on Turkey when attacks happen there.

#PrayForTurkey Islamic countries suffer the worst terrorism, yet in the eyes of the world, we are not important

#PrayForTurkey Islamic countries suffer the worst terrorism, yet in the eyes of the world, we are not important

Alia Chergui said it was sad that so many atrocities were happening during the holy month of Ramadan, also listing the multiple Turkey has suffered.

C triste que pendant ce mois saint du ramadan il y est autant d'atrocités. Hommage à tte les victimes #prayforturkey

C triste que pendant ce mois saint du ramadan il y est autant d'atrocités. Hommage à tte les victimes #prayforturkey

'Terminal of death' - Turkish media reaction

BBC Monitoring

Turkish media have responded with anger and indignation to the deadly attacks at Istanbul's Ataturk airport. 

The front page of today's Hurriyet newspaper carries photos from the scene and the headline "We condemn". 

front page of Hurriyet, with headline 'we condemn' in Turkish
Hurriyet

There are lots of strongly-worded headlines on other front pages, such as "Go to hell" in the Posta tabloid.

Front page of Posta, with headline 'go to hell'
Posta

"Baby-killing barbarians" in HaberTurk, "Damn them!" in the tabloid Sozcu. 

The Vatan newspaper quotes a witness in its headline: "It was like hell." Milliyet calls the attackers "traitors" and Takvim describes them as "vicious ones". 

Milliyet front page, calling the attackers traitors
Milliyet

Cumhuriyet dubs the Ataturk airport a "terminal of death", highlighting alleged shortcomings in its security.  

Cumhuriyet front page
cumhuriyet
haber turk front page
haber turk

Airport 'is symbol of international connections' - US

A White House spokesperson has said the US condemns the Ataturk airport attack in the strongest possible terms.

Josh Earnest drew parallels with the Brussels airport attack in March this year.

He said both airports are symbols of international connections and the ties that bind nations together.

US remains steadfast in its support for Turkey, he said, "along with all of our friends and allies around the world, as we continue to confront the threat of terrorism".

Josh Earnest giving media briefing, 28 June
AP
Josh Earnest was speaking on behalf of the White House

'No justification' for attack - Nato

The head of Nato, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, has condemned the attack and says there is "no justification" for terrorism.

Turkey has been a member of Nato since 1952.

#NATO SG @JensStoltenberg condemns the terrorist #IstanbulAttack bit.ly/2941e7O #Turkey #Istanbul

#NATO SG @JensStoltenberg condemns the terrorist #IstanbulAttack bit.ly/2941e7O #Turkey #Istanbul

BreakingOne Ukrainian and one Iranian victim, officials say

Officials have identified the nationalities of two foreigners killed in the airport attack.

They say one of them was Ukrainian while another was Iranian.

Saudi Arabia had previously said at least seven of its citizens were injured.

Albanian PM landed minutes after attack

Tweet in Albanian
@ediramaal
Mr Rama tweeted about his "Deep regret for the innocent lives lost" in a "barbaric act"

The prime minister of Albania landed in Ataturk airport just minutes after the attack, the Associated Press reports.

Edi Rama was visiting Turkey for a series of official meetings, which he has said will still go ahead.

He tweeted his condolences to the victims of the attack and blamed it on "those who have no God or hope and no place among the people".

Eyewitness 'saw a flash of fire'

Will Carter was in the baggage hall when he heard an explosion. 

Listen to his account of the attack here.

Hundreds have been killed in Turkey's overlapping security crises

Hundreds of people have been killed in militant attacks in Turkey over the past year.

Some of the attacks were by the so-called Islamic State group, which Turkey's prime minister has already linked to Tuesday attacks.

But the government is also fighting an insurgency against the banned PKK (Kurdish Workers' Party).

Security crises are overlapping in the country, as the BBC's Paul Adams explains.

Relatives gather, waiting for news

Some relatives of victims have gathered outside a hospital and a forensic medicine building overnight, waiting for news.

We do not know much about who the victims were yet, but we do know that the attack happened both outside and inside the terminal - so it is possible not all the victims were travelling through the airport.

A mother of victims reacts outside a forensic medicine building close to Istanbul"s airport on June 29, 2016
AFP
Relatives of victims wait outside a forensic medicine building close to Istanbul"s airport on June 29, 2016
AFP
Relatives of the Ataturk Airport suicide bomb attack victims wait outside Bakirkoy Sadi Konuk Hospital
Getty Images
People assist a motherwho lost a relative, outside a forensic medicine building, June 29, 2016,
AFP

The scene this morning

The attack happened late on Tuesday evening at what is Turkey's main airport.

Three people started shooting, and blew themselves up once police shot at them, officials say.

These pictures of the airport on Wednesday show it has been partially re-opened amid tight security as workers survey the damage.

Workers stand near debris from yesterday"s blasts as they take a break at Turkey"s largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk, Turkey, June 29, 2016.
reuters
A person walks in front of broken window gates at Ataturk international airport in Istanbul, Turkey, 29 June 2016.
EPA
A K9 unit guards one of the entrance of Turkey"s largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk, following yesterday"s blast June 29, 2016.
Reuters
Passengers wait for their flights following yesterday"s blasts June 29, 2016.
reuters

BBC correspondent stuck on plane at Istanbul airport

The BBC's Turkey correspondent, Mark Lowen, was on an airplane at the airport when the attack happened. He wasn't able to leave the plane, so instead reported from the tarmac.

BBC reporter stuck on plane at Istanbul airport

Mark has since left the airport and headed home.

Scene of attack at #Istanbul airport. I'm finally out and en route home. Thinking of all those who didn't make it

Scene of attack at #Istanbul airport. I'm finally out and en route home. Thinking of all those who didn't make it

Welcome to our live page, bringing you the latest on the attack at Istanbul's Ataturk international airport that has killed 36 people and injured more than 140 others.