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There has been no confirmation of the number of attackers and whether any were suicide bombers as conflicting reports were made public in local media.
But the justice ministry issued a report saying that the attack was carried out by a person who fired automatic weapons at travelers before detonating explosive devices.
The Associated Press quoted Istanbul’s governor as saying that at least three suicide bombers were involved in the attacks in the ticketing zone of the airport.
Flights in and out of the airport have been suspended, authorities said. At press time, the airport was still being evacuated.
There has been no immediate claim of responsibility but suspicion is being cast on either the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has attacked police and security members in southeast Turkey, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The airport attack comes just three weeks after at least 11 people, including seven policemen, were killed when a car bomb tore through a popular tourist spot in central Istanbul.
Security officials said that at least 36 people were also injured in the remotely detonated car bomb in the historic Beyazit district of the city.
The bombing appeared to have targeted a bus transporting members of the police force.
The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies