Suicide Bombers Strike Istanbul Airport

Turkish officials said at least 36 people have been killed in a shooting and double suicide bombing at the third-busiest airport in Europe.

The death toll was updated at 8 p.m. EST.

According to Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, a gunman fired shots at the international arrivals terminal at Istanbul Ataturk Airport. The local time was around 10 p.m.

Police fired at the shooter, who then detonated his device, he said. Officials then updated the number of attackers to three -- two more attackers set off their bombs, one in the domestic flights terminal and one in the parking lot.

A witness told NBC News that a police officer was seen tackling the gunman to the ground before the bomber exploded.

The attack comes at the crossroads of a few points of interest for terrorists: Israel and Turkey just signed an agreement today to normalize relations. The Iraqi government officially seized control of Fallujah on Monday after a long fight to drive out ISIS fighters. And it's still Ramadan, which ends July 5.

Wednesday is also the two-year anniversary of the establishment of the Islamic State. ISIS issued an anniversary video on Monday highlighting their expansion into the Arabian Peninsula, Sinai, Libya and Algeria.

Ataturk Airport is the hub for Turkish Airlines and is a posh layover spot with extensive shopping and cosmopolitan restaurant choices.

According to Turkish media, police officers are among the more than 147 wounded.

There has been no claim of responsibility yet. ISIS has staged two attacks in Istanbul so far this year: In January, a suicide bomber killed 13 tourists near the Blue Mosque. In March, a suicide bomber killed four in a shopping district outside of a district governor's office.

The State Department updated its Turkey travel warning Monday to stress that "throughout Europe extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, aviation services, transportation systems, and public venues where people congregate as well as religious sites and high-profile events."

"U.S. citizens are reminded to review personal security plans and remain vigilant at all times. U.S. Government personnel in Turkey remain subject to travel restrictions in the southeastern provinces of Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis, and Elazig. U.S. citizens should avoid areas in close proximity to the Syrian border."

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement that the U.S. "condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s heinous terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport in Turkey, which appears to have killed and injured dozens."

"Ataturk International Airport, like Brussels Airport which was attacked earlier this year, is a symbol of international connections and the ties that bind us together," Earnest said. "Our deepest condolences go out to the families and loved ones of those killed, and we wish a speedy recovery to those injured."

"We remain steadfast in our support for Turkey, our NATO Ally and partner, along with all of our friends and allies around the world, as we continue to confront the threat of terrorism."

 

This story was updated at 8 p.m. EST.