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Bombings Kill At Least 32 People At Istanbul Airport

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We're following the attack on Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport. At least 36 people have been killed and more than a hundred wounded. Jared Malsin is a Middle East correspondent for TIME. We reached him via Skype at Ataturk Airport where he spoke with witnesses to the attack.

JARED MALSIN: Yes, I spoke with several witnesses who were inside the airport during the explosions. They all confirmed at least two explosions, possibly three, although that's the last one we are not sure about. One witness, an American passenger who was landing when the explosions happened, showed me photos of what looked like broken glass at the passport control.

So it looks like there was either gunfire or or some other kind of violence that took place deep inside the airport. Otherwise it's been a very chaotic...

SIEGEL: Yeah.

MALSIN: ...Night here with hundreds of passengers and airline employees stranded inside the airport for two or three hours. And then the police have been letting them out in stages, so it's been hundreds of people kind of coming out of the terminal with their luggage, all the while ambulances' sirens blaring coming to and fro, obviously heavily armed police deployed in force here...

SIEGEL: Yeah.

MALSIN: ...And yeah, a number of very distraught people.

SIEGEL: Jared, you said that you've heard about at least two explosions. Were they in rapid succession? Were they in the same terminal, the same close space? What have you heard.

SIEGEL: So it's - again, it's very early still, but what I was told by people who were inside the airport at the time - said first there was one explosion that kind of stunned people and then a second one very soon after that that triggered a kind of panic or maybe almost a stampede inside the airport.

And I can't exactly recreate right now where those explosions were, but it appears that they were inside the airport somewhere. For now, the police are not allowing most press to enter the grounds of the airport. There's a cordon set up, so we've been set back several hundred yards here from the scene of the blasts. But I'm sure more details are going to emerge soon.

SIEGEL: Yes. And as you understand it, at this point, it's been a few hours. Is the assumption...

MALSIN: Yep.

SIEGEL: ...That the attackers have either been killed or took their own lives, or is it still regarded as a live situation at all?

MALSIN: No, the assumption is that the attack, as it were, is over and any of the assailants are obviously subdued at this point. There were a number of reports that they were killed by security forces.

But again, in any kind of attack like this, there's - it's a very fluid situation, so we don't know exactly. But in any case, no, it's - things have significantly calmed down. Now there's no sign of any ongoing fighting or violence right now.

SIEGEL: And is there any indication that Turkish authorities might make a statement or brief reporters publicly at - sometime soon?

MALSIN: Yeah, the Turkish authorities have been releasing statements to the national media as well as various wire agencies. Here at the airport itself, they're not saying much, so I can't help you that much in that particular area. But I expect we'll hear more from them soon.

SIEGEL: Well, thanks for filling us in on what you've heard and what's going on right now at Ataturk International Airport.

MALSIN: Sure.

SIEGEL: That's Jared Malsin of TIME. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.