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Close shave for Indian passengers

| SRIDHAR KUMARASWAMI
Published : Jun 30, 2016, 1:17 am IST
Updated : Jun 30, 2016, 1:17 am IST

Indian passengers on two flights had a close shave at the Istanbul Ataturk airport which was attacked by terrorists on Tuesday night.

Indian passengers on two flights had a close shave at the Istanbul Ataturk airport which was attacked by terrorists on Tuesday night. Two flights of Turkish Air bound for New Delhi and Mumbai left the Istanbul Ataturk airport at 8 pm on Tuesday, just two hours before the suicide bombers struck.

The Indian government said on Wednesday that there were no Indians reported among the 36 people dead in the terror attack on the Ataturk airport. Turkey is a popular tourist destination for Indian tourists and the end of June would be a time when Indian tourists would be returning back to India after their holidays. India condemned the terror attack as “inhuman and horrific” and said it would “continue to ensure safety and security of Indian airports and skies”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Attack in Istanbul is inhuman and horrific. I condemn it strongly. My thoughts are with bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly.”

Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju too tweeted, “I am deeply shocked and agitated at the terror attack on Istanbul Airport. We stand with Turkey and its citizens in their loss and grief. It’s our commitment that we will continue to ensure safety and security of Indian airports and skies.”

In a statement on Wednesday morning, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said, “No report so far of any Indian among the casualties... Turkish Air flights to Delhi and Mumbai departed from Istanbul last night as scheduled. Both leave Istanbul at around 8 pm... Terror attacks at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport occurred at about 10 pm on Tuesday. Ataturk operations at Istanbul have resumed but long delays are likely.”

The MEA added, “Reportedly, there were three suicide bombers. About 36 reported killed and 145 injured. The Indian consulate and embassy tweeted emergency contact numbers for Indians requiring assistance. The Indian consulate has been in touch with the Istanbul governorate and the Turkish health ministry hotline desk.”

Aviation sources said that after every such major attack overseas, security is reviewed at airports across the country by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the government organisation dealing with aviation security that functions under the purview of the civil aviation ministry. Sources said government agencies are expected to issue yet another alert to Indian airports, as usually happens after every major terror attack on an airport or any other establishment abroad.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi