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At Least 10 Dead In Attack On Istanbul International Airport


There has been an attack on the main airport in Istanbul. We're still learning the details, but there was at least one explosion and gunfire. The Turkish justice minister has said there are at least 10 people dead. Reporter Dalia Mortada joins us now from Istanbul. And tell us, Dalia, what happened.

DALIA MORTADA, BYLINE: Well, what we know so far is that at least one explosion and possibly two happened at Istanbul Ataturk Airport. That's Istanbul's largest where thousands of travelers go through every day. And we've got confirmation from the Justice Ministry that at least 10 people were killed, and state news is reporting about 60 are wounded, six seriously wounded.

There are reports that the airport has been closed, although that's not been confirmed. And that's pretty much what we know so far.

SIEGEL: Has any group claimed responsibility for this attack?

MORTADA: No, there hasn't been a claim of responsibility yet. This attack happened maybe about two hours ago - so very recently. And there hasn't been a claim of responsibility so far.

SIEGEL: Now, this is a particularly deadly attack, that is, already the government says. Ten people have been killed and, as you say, six seriously wounded among 60 wounded generally. There have been other attacks recently in Istanbul. What has happened?

MORTADA: That's right. This is the fourth attack in Istanbul in 2016, and that doesn't include attacks in Ankara, Turkey's capital. Just three weeks ago, there was a bombing - a car bombing that killed 11 people and Istanbul. There was another attack in March that killed five people in Central Istanbul and another one in January that killed almost a dozen people.

And the thing that very few people know or very few people realize is that this is not something that happens very often in Istanbul. This year has been very, very violent for this city.

SIEGEL: And the groups that were implicated in those attacks...

MORTADA: Right. So in those attacks, Kurdish militants and Islamic State-affiliated militants have been blamed or have claimed responsibility for those attacks. So there's a good chance that this could be from one of those groups, but we don't have that kind of information yet.

SIEGEL: Once again, the story - an attack at Istanbul airport - according to Turkish officials, 10 dead, as you say, 60 injured, 6 of them very seriously. What's actually happening now at the airport?

MORTADA: Right now at the airport, there are reports that planes are landing, but passengers are being kept on the other side of the terminal where they're landing. There are reports of helicopters hovering over the airport and reports of the injured being transported in taxis if the ambulances can't get to them. It's pretty much on lockdown until they can figure out what's going on.

SIEGEL: OK. Journalist Dalia Mortada in Istanbul, thanks for talking with us.

MORTADA: Thank you, Robert. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.