6 deadliest airport terror attacks of the 21st century

Forensic experts work outside Turkey's largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk, Turkey, following a blast, June 28, 2016. © Murad Sezer
The recent Istanbul bombings have claimed at least 42 lives while the death toll is feared to rise, as some of the injured are still in critical condition. The suspected ISIS attack is among the deadliest ones carried out by terror groups at airports.

LOCATION: Istanbul Ataturk International Airport, Turkey

DATE: June 28, 2016

CASUALTIES: At least 42 dead, 238 injured

Istanbul Ataturk Airport is the largest airport in Turkey, and the third busiest in Europe after London’s Heathrow and Paris’s Charles de Gaulle. Its total passenger traffic was some 61 million people in 2015.

The explosions occurred in the airport’s international arrivals terminal. The attacks on the airport involved three suicide bombers. An investigation has revealed that all three opened fire before detonating their explosive devices.

The victims included at least 10 foreign nationals and three people with dual citizenship, authorities said.

LOCATION:  Brussels Zaventem International Airport, Belgium

DATE: March 22, 2016

CASUALTIES: 14 dead, over 200 injured

The departure hall of the airport was the target of Islamic State-linked terrorists, when Brussels was hit by twin suicide bombings at Zaventem Airport and the Maelbeek metro station.

The hall was rocked by two explosions carried out by suicide bombers, later identified as Ibrahim El Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui.

In 2015, passenger traffic at the airport was 23 million people.

LOCATION:  Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport, Russia

DATE: January 24, 2011

CASUALTIES: 37 dead, 170 injured

A suicide bomber targeted the international departure hall at Moscow’s busiest airport. Citizens of 13 countries, including Russia, were among the victims. Russia later identified the bomber as a 20-year-old from the North Caucasus. Later a group of Caucasus Emirate led by Doku Umarov claimed responsibility for the attack.

Domodedovo was the 12th busiest airport with 30 million passengers a year, 2015 statistics show.

LOCATION:  Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Pakistan

DATE: June 8, 2014

CASUALTIES: 26 dead, 18 injured

The attack took place when a Taliban group disguised as security guards stormed the airport in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city.

The militants launched grenades and opened fire as they entered Jinnah International Airport. At least three blasts were heard and an airport emergency declared, leading to flight operations being suspended.

The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an Islamic terrorist group, later claimed responsibility for the attack.

LOCATION:  Kandahar International Airport, Afghanistan

DATE: December 8, 2015

CASUALTIES: 50+ deaths, 35 injured

© Zainal Abd Halim

Taliban militants wearing army uniforms armed with AK-47s, rocket launchers and some wearing suicide vests took control of a school near the airport buildings. The gunmen then proceeded to target apartment buildings of government employees and the joint Afghan-NATO military base at the airport.

Hours of intense fighting resulted in dozens of deaths, most of them civilians.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Kandahar attack, boasting on its website that “a number of martyrdom seekers armed with heavy and light weapons entered Kandahar airbase undetected and have begun engaging the large number of foreign invaders and their hirelings inside.”

LOCATION:  Aden Adde International Airport, Mogadishu, Somalia

DATE: September 17, 2009

CASUALTIES: 21 deaths, 40 injured

© Wikipedia

Twin suicide bombings rocked the airport which hosted the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in the capital of Mogadishu. The attackers managed to get into the airport by using two stolen UN cars. They targeted a meeting between the AMISOM servicemen and the Transitional Federal Government.