The United States has condemned the “heinous” terror attack in Istanbul, Turkey, pledging to provide “steadfast” support for the country.
At least 36 people were killed and 147 more injured in a gun and bomb attack at Istanbul’s Atatürk international airport late on Tuesday night.
“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,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement on Tuesday.
“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.”
According to Turkish officials, three terrorists blew themselves up as security forces were preventing them from progressing into the airport.
Police forces started firing at suspects when they tried to pass through the international terminal’s entry, before the security check.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced that early signs suggested that the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group was behind the bombings.
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, “Such attacks will only reinforce our determination to work with the government of Turkey to counter the scourge of terrorism and support all those across the region who are working to promote peace and reconciliation.”
Also, US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her Republican rival Donald Trump have both reacted to the attack.
Hillary Clinton said in a statement that “today’s attack in Istanbul only strengthens our resolve to defeat the forces of terrorism,” adding, “it reminds us that the United States cannot retreat.”
Trump said that the United States must take further measures to keep Americans safe in the face of terrorists.
“We must take steps now to protect America from terrorists, and do everything in our power to improve our security to keep America safe,” he said in a statement.
Major Turkish cities have witnessed a series of bombing attacks since last July when the country launched a military campaign against militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeastern border areas.
The Turkish military has also been conducting offensives against the positions of the group in northern Iraq.
The operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc. More than 30 people died in the attack, which the Turkish government blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.