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Chaos and carnage — Inside the terror bombing of Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport

Security cameras caught the moment death was unleashed in Istanbul. Police shot one of the armed attackers and then he detonated his bomb. Passengers stampeded for the exits as flying glass and debris cut bodies to shreds. It was another attack at an international airport and, for Turkey, a direct hit on its economic ambitions. Special correspondent Jane Ferguson reports.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Investigators in Istanbul, Turkey, have spent this day trying to reconstruct the assault that turned Ataturk Airport into a killing field.

    Three suicide bombers left widespread carnage, 42 dead, more than 230 wounded, but no claim of responsibility.

    Special correspondent Jane Ferguson begins our coverage from Istanbul.

  • JANE FERGUSON, Special Correspondent:

    Operations resumed at Europe's third busiest airport, amid the stark signs of terror, glass panels riddled with bullet holes, and blood splattered on ceilings.

    The attack began last night, shortly before 10:00 p.m. local time. Security cameras captured one attacker just after being shot by police, and then setting off his bomb. That touched off a stampede to get outside, and away from danger.

  • ADAM KEALLY, Witness:

    One guy had holes in his back from shrapnel or from glass.

  • HACER PEKSEN, Airport Worker (through translator):

    People were wounded. People fell down in front of me. Four people fell in front of me. They were torn into pieces.

  • JANE FERGUSON:

    In the hours after the attack, Turkish officials pointed to the Islamic State. The group was blamed for a suicide bombing in January that killed several tourists near the famed Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

    And today marked two years since ISIS declared its so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Moreover, Turkey backs the U.S. bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria, and on Monday, the Turks moved to improve relations with Russia, which carries out its own airstrikes in Syria.

    Both Russian President Putin and President Obama called Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today to offer condolences. Back in Istanbul, the human toll of this latest attack is still being felt by relatives and friends of the wounded.

    SERDAR TATLISU, Relative of Victim (through translator): We are waiting for some kind of solution. We can hear that people are wailing here. We cannot cope anymore. We can't stand still.

  • JANE FERGUSON:

    The Turkish government has worked for years to build an international airline and to make Istanbul Airport one of the biggest hubs in the world. Any attack against this airport is an attack against the economic ambitions of the Turkish government. They know that.

    And so just a day after the attack, the airport is completely reopened and it's business as usual. Some travelers at Ataturk today were trying to do the same. They say the risk of attacks at major airports is now a reality they have come to terms with.

  • DORKA KARDOSH, Traveler:

    I think the best option is to just go on and try not to be so nervous, and, of course be cautious, but to live your live as it was before.

  • JANE FERGUSON:

    In the end, Tuesday's bombings are yet another reminder that international travel remains a major target for terror attacks.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jane Ferguson in Istanbul, Turkey.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    We will take a closer look at the situation in Turkey after the news summary.

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