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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Airport Terror Attack: At Least 31 Dead, 147 Wounded; Surveillance Cameras Capture Suicide Bombings; Death Toll Rises in Airport Terror Attack; . Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 28, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:08] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, a deadly terror attack. Terrorist striking the international terminal of Turkey's main airport. Tonight, at this hour, the death toll is growing rapidly. Right now we know for sure 28 people lost their lives, more than 60 are injured. Those numbers are rising. At least three suicide bombers were among the attackers.
New video from a surveillance video just in to CNN. We want to warn you that this is disturbing, but we want to show you exactly what happened here. It appears to show the moment one of the suicide bombers actually blew himself up. You see him fall there on the ground and what appears to be a gun skids along the floor and then -- you literally can see this -- it is unclear what he's doing. You see that man run away -- and then you see the explosions. As we said, appearing to actually detonate himself. Terrifying. Unbelievable, what you actually see there.
We understand from officials that there were at least three suicide bombers and when you see that gun skid across the floor. We understand that first they opened fire with Kalashnikov assault rifles and then blowing themselves up which you actually see in the instance of this attacker and we actually have the exact moment that one of the explosions literally ripped through the airport. As you can see, people walking at that moment not expecting anything and that bright flash of fire and then the debris starts to shower down.
The blast sent panicked travelers running through the terminal and this is cell phone video of people running away. Their footage just coming into CNN showing people scrambling into airport stores, they are crouching, trying to stay hidden and we know that they were hiding underneath check-in counters. President Obama we can tell you at this hour has been briefed on the attack, the FAA has halted all American flights to and from the airport in Istanbul. High visibility patrols with technical weapons and equipment have now been added at this hour to all New York City airports.
This is the second terror attack on an airport in three months and it comes as ISIS today released a video celebrating two years of its self-declared caliphate. We have reporters around the world covering this breaking story for us tonight.
We begin with Joe Duran at the airport. And Joe, this is a heavily secured airport and you have security even before you come in more than in the United States. What do you know right now about who was behind this, how they carried it out?
JOE DURAN, JOURNALIST: Erin, I don't think -- I think it is too early to tell. I arrived over an hour ago. This, where I'm standing is the airport road. What you see behind me, Ataturk Havalimani is the airport entrance. I've traveled many times through this airport. I've been based here for many years and normally at that entrance, you have policemen with machine guns and they stop, not every car, but they stopped certain cars. I don't know what happened tonight. As I came tonight, as we made our way down this road, this road was full of people just running from the airport, passengers scared.
Some of them injured. And if you see, a few people walking around, but it's 200 meters from the entrance. Early in the day, we were at that point where there was a lot of chaos, there were people crying, there were people trying to leave the airport. We've been pushed back 200 meters, but if you can see there are people still trying -- they don't know but if they're going to be traveling, but if we can just show people are walking through the airport expecting to take a flight, and as far as we know, the airport is closed at the moment.
BURNETT: All right, Joe. Thank you very much. I want to go to Clarissa Ward, our senior international correspondent.
I mean, Clarissa, this story has been developing so quickly. At first we thought perhaps only ten dead, maybe one bomber, maybe two and now it's up to nearly 30. The numbers are climbing, multiple suicide bombers, what are you learning as to who is behind this attack?
CLARISSA WARD, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, typically the -- first of all, I should say, Turkey is no stranger to terrorist attacks, unfortunately. The main culprits historically have been Kurdish separatists and also, of course, ISIS. I would say in this case from what I am looking at and from what others who are experts in the area have also seen, it seems to fit the profile much more of an ISIS-directed or possibly ISIS-inspired attack. Now why? There are several reasons. First of all, ISIS likes to use what they call Inhimazi (ph), what are essentially suicide fighters. The idea being that they're not just trying to blow themselves up. They're going in heavily armed and trying to kill as many people as they can before eventually blowing themselves up.
[19:05:02] We saw that obviously in the Bataclan Theater in Paris. So, we haven't heard any claim of responsibility from ISIS yet, but Erin, it's important to note that typically, ISIS has actually not claimed responsibility for its attacks in Turkey and that's because they want to feed on the sense of uncertainty. They want to feed on the sense of chaos, striking the Istanbul Airport is a very symbolic target. This is a bridge between the East and the West. Turkey of course is a very outward looking, western-friendly Muslim country and all of these things that ISIS hates, and we did hear the spokesperson for ISIS Adnani calling for more attacks during Ramadan either by people who are in ISIS or who support ISIS or just inspired by ISIS, we are now Erin, in the last ten days of Ramadan.
These are considered to be the ten holiest days of the holiest month of the year. Traditionally this is a time for carrying out major attacks, but certainly we can say three bombers, all of them armed. This was a coordinated attack. It took some planning and so far it is fitting all of the profiles of an ISIS-directed or at the very least, ISIS-inspired attack, but as I said, no one has yet claimed responsibility -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Clarissa, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now on the phone, Laurence Cameron. He landed at Ataturk, the airport just after the attacks occurred. And Lawrence, you got out of that plane, you walked into the airport and saw what you described as an apocalypse.
LAURENCE CAMERON, LANDED AT AIRPORT JUST AFTER ATTACK (on the phone): Yes, I mean, I didn't hear a blast, but I stepped around the plane and looked around the corner and there was a wave of sort of screaming people towards me. I mean, the only other thing I could say was sort of a zombie from the apocalypse here just screaming, not knowing where they are going, the kids on the floor, someone in a wheelchair just stuck in the middle of the door crying out for help. And yes, the crowds ebbed and flowed and there were police rushing about and sort of calm down a bit and then flared up again and this is just out of control since the police kept the whole thing closed for about half an hour, 45 minutes.
But, yes, just, you know, just utter panic. You know, people crying. Not much fun, really. And they finally did let us out and past the scene where sort of two blast sites. One was inside, sort of more near duty-free from watching the images on TV is where this chap who was on the floor blew up and then there was another sort of site outside where the taxi rank was. You know, a big blast had gone off there, but yes, you know, there was still blood on the floor and just -- just horrendous, really.
BURNETT: And -- and as you said, when you went through passport control, I mean, did you -- were there other people at this point? Were any of these stations even manned or was it completely basically abandoned?
CAMERON: No. The police had blocked off the entire possible control to keep everyone out and we couldn't see anything beyond that and eventually, you know, they brought in more police and let everyone through quite quickly and there was sort of an absolute crush of people to get through because I guess some people had split up from relatives and friends.
CAMERON: And then, you know, people trying to mill around and looking back towards possible control of people and police just shutting us through. And you know, right past the scene, at least I guess two blasts from what I can tell. But, you know, just horrendous, in the car park there were just bloody rags on the floor and just yes -- yes, pretty horrific stuff.
BURNETT: Laurence, thank you very much for calling and for talking to us. I know you must be in shock. Obviously lucky though that you arrived when you did that you are alive.
OUTFRONT now, former CIA operative Bob Baer, Juliette Kayyem, former assistant secretary of Homeland Security. Mitch Silber, the former director of intelligence analysis at the New York City Police Department and Michael Weiss, the co-author of "ISIS: Inside The Army of Terror."
Bob, let me just take a look at this moment of explosion again. It is hard to watch, but I want to show it so you can give us a sense of exactly what happened here. The actual blast that you see there looks enormous. What does it tell you?
BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: You know, you're looking at the blast and the smoke. Of course, it's early, but you know, acetone peroxide, this technology is available all around Turkey and of course, Syria and Iraq. The guy may have had a dead man switch. I saw he had a gun and he was shooting it up, it looks like somebody shot him, a policeman and then he's down and let's go with that switch.
His dead man switches nothing the police can do about it and they knew at the time you see anybody running away from the guy and probably had some sort of heavy garments on, was hiding this bomb, he could have got through security, you know, unless he's going through a metal detector no way to figure out these people wearing suicide vests. And these people knew what they were doing and the detonators went off, that's always the key, the detonators, the phase apparently had some practice.
BURNETT: And Mitch, when you see that explosion, it appears that you're sort of looking inside the airport and we know at this point at least two of the bombs were inside the airport and before security but inside the airport, one of them may have been outside. But when you see that explosion, what do you see?
[19:10:38] MITCH SILBER, FORMER NYPD DIRECTOR OF INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS: Yes, I mean, clearly, Erin. They decided to attack the airport where it's most vulnerable where you're at the ticket counters before you've gone through security where there really hasn't been much vetting to prevent anyone from detecting you and the idea that, you know, suicide bombers. I mean, this very much looks like from the tactics, from the way it was carried out almost a replay to the degree of what we saw in Brussels in March.
BURNETT: And Mitch, I want to play now another video. All right. This video appears to be one of the suicide bombers and it's very eerie and awful to see, but this could tell us a lot about what happened here. He actually runs. It appears that he's shot. Falls to the ground and his gun skids out in front of him. Then probably 10 or 15 seconds are going to go by here. But you can see him sort of struggling and someone is going to run by but you do see him struggling to do something. It's unclear what it is, and I know Bob Baer is talking about a dead
man switch, he's obviously still alive here. And then actually appears to detonate himself because you see his arm go up there and then a couple of seconds later, there's the explosion. When you see that, what do you see, and he clearly had the gun and had some sort of a vest on his person.
SILBER: Right. So, he obviously was not able to take out more people using his gun, this would be the moment at which he would try and kill as many people as possible using whatever explosive device was strapped to him. I mean, this would be standard protocol for an ISIS suicide fighter as he was describing. You know, once you are done with sort of rounds going around, mass rating people with automatic fire then you detonate the bomb although in this case, it didn't look like terribly many people were surrounding and one guy came by and saw that this guy was obviously about to do something terrible and then ran off. I don't know how many people were killed or wounded in that particular attack. But all bets were off at this point, he did not want to be taken alive by the Turkish police. That was very much clear.
BURNETT: Yes. I mean, and Juliette, when you see that and he gets shots, fall, gun skids and then detonate himself, that appears to be very clear. Right? I mean, there wasn't anyone around him at that very instant, but obviously the explosion is very, again, like the other one, just looking at it as a late person, it looks very large.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Yes. Absolutely. And purposeful. I mean, look, I was just looking online, this airport has 284 flight destinations of 113 countries. This is not Turkey's airport. It's the world's airport, and so for those of us who have traveled anywhere sort of East of Paris, Turkey is actually tends to be the central point of destination.
KAYYEM: And it is by, for U.S. Homeland Security purposes it is the last point of departure airport. That means that TSA is there, it's checking cargo, people and the plane itself, but it can't sort of go in and protect every airport, right? That's the responsibility of the nation itself and that's the challenge with the last point of departure flights is if they're coming into the United States at airports that are always going to have soft aspects to them and vulnerabilities to them.
BURNETT: As I indicated at the top of show, the story is developing so quickly and unfortunately horrifically. The death toll has gone up. We now can confirm at least 32 people are dead and 88 are wounded. Bob Baer, this was something that was coordinated. We know there were at least three attackers. They had a very clear plans. They had the guns. They had the suicide vest. What does that tell you about the amount of planning, the planning that went into this?
BAER: Well, Erin, you know, for the last couple of days I've been looking at all of the Islamic State attacks, Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan and there's two major attacks there. You have to wonder whether these people have not organized some sort of external jihad especially after the fall of Fallujah. The purpose of this group is to say we're here. We're not going anywhere.
Yes, go ahead, take Fallujah, but we're going to hit you elsewhere and it's in this context until we get more details and more confirmation that I look at this that certainly the Islamic State can get people across the border into Turkey and launch an attack like this very logical, Istanbul airport and it's an international airport. Turkey is a key ally, a member of NATO and a very westernized country and this really, really is a damaging, damaging attack.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. You're all going to be with me through the hours. The story develops, next.
More of our breaking news, the Turkey bombing. The second major terror attacks at an airport in just three months. The bombers unleashing an arsenal before they actually went through security.
[19:15:06] And the deadly terror attack coming right after the State Department. They issued just yesterday, increased terror threat in Turkey. What more do officials know from the chatter and a congressman from the Intel committee who was just briefed will be OUTFRONT as our breaking coverage continues.
[19:18:55] BURNETT: We are following the breaking news of a deadly terror attack at one of the busiest airports in the world, one of the most secure airports. The death toll climbing at this hour, 32 dead and 88 wounded. Chilling new surveillance video capturing what appears to be the moment that one of the three, at least three suicide bombers unleashed this horrific attack inside of the main airport in Istanbul, Turkey. You see the attacker on the ground seconds before he detonates himself in that massive explosion. At least one of the terrorists, we are told, opened fire with a Kalashnikov rifle before blowing himself up.
And you saw that man there when he went down to the ground. His rifle actually skids out of his hand. Officials do say, ISIS is responsible. Moments ago, the White House issued a statement condemning in the strongest possible terms today's heinous terrorist attack in their words.
Our senior international correspondent Ivan Watson is en route back to Istanbul, a city he knows very well. Ivan obviously in Paris tonight. You know, we've all been through this airport, you more than almost anyone. Right now it is shut down and this is one of the busiest airports in the world.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It's shutdown and as we just saw from Joe Duran at the beginning of your broadcast, there are still people trying to get into the airport with their luggage hoping to travel out, just to give you a sense of the sheer volume of people that expect to move through that airport every day and of course, shut down right now. Now, according to a Turkish government official, there were three attackers with suicide vest.
One is parking lot, two outside the arrivals hall who all detonated their suicide vests. We are getting slightly contradictory numbers from different Turkish government officials as to the casualties. A Turkish embassy official in Washington telling CNN 32 dead, at least 88 wounded. The justice minister going on record that the number of fatalities are at least 31 dead and 147 wounded. Regardless, it is a mass casualty attack and it is also on the gateway to Istanbul's -- Turkey's largest city, its commercial capital, a crossroads of travel from across the world and for people who have not been there, let me just paint a picture for you.
If you drive into the airport compound, you go through a police checkpoint where police with submachine guns can stop and search vehicles, their trunks as they're going in. And then if you're driving then to the arrivals hall there typically are lines of dozens of taxis there, and that's where we see in some of the video and some of the security camera video that clearly an explosion took place. If you wanted to go into the arrivals hall say to meet somebody arriving, you would first have to go through lines of security, Erin.
You have to go through a metal detector that's manned by police officers, by security guards and to even get into the arrivals hall where there would be a Starbucks, other coffee shops as well as other boutiques and things like that, and normally in that area at any time of day, dozens and dozens of people milling around either arriving, leaving, a very, very busy place, and clearly, going to do more damage to Turkey's already crippled tourism industry which is suffering as it battles two terrorist organizations simultaneously, ISIS and the Kurdistan workers party or PKK -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Ivan Watson.
Sue Savage joins me on the phone. She was at the airport. And Sue, you were there and you heard the gun shots?
[19:22:42] SUE SAVAGE, WITNESSED AFTERMATH OF EXPLOSION: Oh, absolutely. While we were there my friend was flying out that evening and I'm flying in a couple of days and I just recognized the gunshots and then heard this huge explosion, and I knew immediately it was a bomb. And I just bolted as fast as I can -- not very fast, and went into the first room I could find which happened to be a men's prayer room, but I left there fairly quickly and ended up actually in a men's toilet in one of the stalls with this lovely young woman and a young boy and we waited there easily half an hour.
[19:23:16] Came out of there and went into a secure room with the x- ray luggage and then all of a sudden we heard more screams and more gunshot, and I ducked into the place where they x-ray luggage and everybody else bolted out. But this was the closest place for me, and I must have been in there ten or 15 minutes before I peeked out and was told, no, it's okay, you can come out now and a lot of us, about 30 of us were herded into a woman's prayer room where we sat for 45 minutes or so. And then they said, now it was all clear.
They escorted us towards the front of the airport and took us down the escalator and we were on the ground floor at the arrivals hall and there was a lot of blood. It was obviously a place where one of the suicide bomber has blown themselves up. There was a huge pile of still damp blood and it was a couple of hours after and then there were these drip marks everywhere. It was this woman scarf, somebody who had been wearing, fallen down and there was glass and when they escorted us around the other side of the escalator where the car -- places are, where you can exchange currency, there was so much blasts on the floor and there was sort of scuffing aside so that we didn't slip. It was everywhere.
BURNETT: I mean, it just sounds unbelievable. Sue, when you -- when you first heard those shots before you heard the explosion, I know it's impossible to try to remember exactly, but did it sound like a lot of shots? A lot of guns? Do you have any sense of exactly what you were hearing about the shooting?
SAVAGE: They all sounded the same. I got the impression they were from a semiautomatic. They didn't sound like, separate handguns. They were two quick together which means that had to be a semiautomatic or automatic.
BURNETT: And then you said you heard the explosion go off and how much time between those two things? Did you have enough time to even realized what you were hearing before you heard the big explosion?
SAVAGE: I've actually heard gunshots before I ended up somewhere in the middle of a shootout at a bank, but that's another story in another continent. So, I recognized the gunshots immediately, and then altogether I heard about three, but there was one and then there was another one and then later on there was at least 20 minutes later there were more gunshots. So, yes, I knew immediately what it was.
BURNETT: But you're saying this went on for 20 minutes or more?
SAVAGE: Well, the original gunshots were less than a minute, I think. Less than a minute. There was a lot of them and then there was this boom, and then there was more gunshots and another boom. So there was a lot of audio activity going on -- the thing is -- and you hate to say it, but it's self-preservation. You know what I mean? You're not thinking of anybody else.
BURNETT: Right. Of course.
SAVAGE: But after that I was calm which was the weirdest thing.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Sue, thank you. Thank you so very much for being with us and just horrific what Sue saw, but every piece of information here adding to the picture of what exactly happened. You heard her saying less than a minute of shooting and then a boom and then there was more shooting and another boom as you know what was happening, but that shooting with the Kalashnikovs and then the suicide bombing and more shooting and another bombing.
Next, as we follow the breaking news, a terror attack at the major airport. We are live in Turkey on the ground.
Plus, who is behind this attack? A lot of jihadists apparently know this airport very well. And U.S. officials have some more information coming in at this hour. We'll going to go to our reporters on the ground as this comes in. We'll be right back.
[19:31:09] BURNETT: Breaking news: terror in Turkey. Three suicide bombers striking a crowded international terminal at Istanbul's main airport. At this hour, officials now tell us, 32 are dead and at least 88 injured, numbers that have been changing and rising throughout these past couple of hours since this horrific news broke.
We are just getting in some new video of exactly what happened. We warn you that this is incredibly graphic. You actually see the exact moment the explosion rips through the airport. And everything starts falling, but at that moment, you see people are walking and no one in that picture before that video has any expectation that anything is going wrong, even though we understand that before these suicide bombers blew themselves up, they had been shooting with Kalashnikovs. Officials say at least one of the attackers stormed the airport with an assault rifle.
Andrew Finkel is OUTFRONT live in Istanbul.
And, Andrew, you had a chance to speak to witnesses about what some have already described here as an apocalyptic scene at that airport. What are you hearing?
ANDREW FINKEL, JOURNALIST (via telephone): Well, there seems to have been an extremely well organized attack and there were three attackers, possibly more and three certainly blew themselves up at various locations outside and possibly inside the airport.
There were shots fired and bombs ripped through, taxi drivers waiting to get on the line and suddenly found that the car in front of them was turned into a heap, and of course, this is a huge airport, a huge terminal. Many people don't actually go here to visit Istanbul and they go here from who knows? You know, Cape Town or Bangkok on their way to New York or San Francisco. So it's a huge transport hub and the airport is crowded day and night. Of course, the authority had to evacuate this airport amidst all this chaos and it's a dramatic event that's shocked Turkey and elsewhere in the world.
BURNETT: Of course. Shocking everyone around the world, Andrew.
I want to go to Pamela Brown. Pamela, I know you've been talking to your sources about exactly what happened here. You hear Andrew talking about how extremely well-coordinated this was. What are you hearing about that and who was behind it?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, from my sources in the intelligence community, the sense right now, Erin, is that this was an ISIS attack, either inspired or directed or from a Turkish ISIS cell. They're still trying to drill that down, but the officials I've spoken say this has the M.O. of ISIS. You look at what happened in Belgium at the Brussels airport. This is very similar to that.
We know that ISIS likes to pick targets that are symbolic and that make a splash and this, of course, would be a attractive target for that and it's the month of Ramadan and around the anniversary of the ISIS caliphate. One official I spoke to said that it would be highly unlikely and highly out of character for this to be the work of the PKK, and the other group that we've been talking about as the responsible party.
But again, no public claim of responsibility yet. So right now, intelligence officials in the U.S. are going back to their human sources. They are looking at intercepts trying to figure out who is behind this. I'm being told at this stage, there is no indication in the U.S., at least, that there was a specific plot targeting this airport, but of course, after something like this happens and they go back and look through the intelligence to see if something was missed.
And I might add that another priority, Erin, right now, not only determining who is behind this, but also to see if any Americans were in that airport. They're working -- the U.S. intelligence agencies are working with the airport, looking over manifest to see if any American citizens were traveling through the airport at that time trying to catch flights.
[19:35:01] At this point, I'm told they haven't determined if there were U.S. victim, but that certainly is a priority to figure out -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Pamela Brown.
I want to go to now to Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California on the House Intelligence Committee.
And, Congressman Swalwell, you've been briefed on this terror attack, these numbers of dead and wounded in this horrific attack continuing to climb. What are you learning?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Good evening, Erin.
And, certainly, our heart goes out to the Turkish people and I was just there last year at this time in Istanbul, talking with Turkish officials about fighting ISIS and that information right now, is very limited, but we are looking to see if American gates were targeted. We saw in Belgium, you know, in the Brussels attack that it was American gates where the bombings took place and there's been a targeting of Westerners.
So, whether this was ISIS or another extremist group, that's going to be the first question that we're asking here at home.
BURNETT: And -- and so it sounds like you don't yet have information on that, whether U.S. flights were targeted. We do know it was the international terminal of the Airport. So, that in and of itself perhaps significant. This is the second attack, Congressman, at an airport in the past
three months and we know that the Paris attackers had been trying at the time it was -- and nobody had heard of such a thing. They said, oh, they're going to try to perhaps shoot the departure section of Charles de Gaulle Airport. We then we saw that horrifically happen in Brussels. It's now happened here.
Are you concerned that it could happen again?
SWALWELL: Very concerned. And today, ISIS released a video targeting Las Vegas and San Francisco. And so, no city in the free world right now is safe from ISIS and I think what this has to be is a call for nations to put aside any distractions that are keeping us from coming together to really root out ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
And right now, frankly, Turkey has been distracted by the PKK and they're focused on the PKK, and I think that's been to the detriment of taking on ISIS and limiting fighters from going through Turkey down into Syria and Iraq.
BURNETT: And, Congressman, at this hour, do you know anything about possible American casualties?
SWALWELL: Not yet. I have certainly asked, and we have an embassy over in Ankara and, of course, a consulate in Istanbul in hoping that no embassy personnel were injured or killed in the attack.
BURNETT: All right, Congressman, thank you very much.
SWALWELL: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And we're continuing to follow this breaking story. At least 28 dead after a terror attack at that airport. The death toll rising at this hour. The scene developing in the early morning hours now in Istanbul. We'll be back on the ground in a moment.
[19:41:43] BURNETT: Breaking news: the death toll rising tonight in a terrorist attack at a major international airport. Thirty-two now dead, 88 wounded. We have new video coming in of the chaotic scene right outside the airport during the attack. Bodies on the ground, whether these are people hiding, we're not sure. These are people who are perhaps injured.
We know at least one of the attackers had an assault rifle, moments later. That individual exploded himself with some sort of a suicide vest that he was wearing. Whether it was a belt or a vest, it's unclear. It was most certainly on his person, we can tell you that because you actually see him detonate.
I want to go to Tom Foreman, who's looking at the layout of the airport.
And, Tom, obviously, this is a very secure airport. It is one of the busiest airports in the world. And you have to go through security outside, then you have to go through security when you get to the airport, then you get inside the airport, and then you go through what we all in the United States would consider security.
And yet they were able to get past perimeter after perimeter.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of layers for them to get through, right? As Ivan mentioned earlier, and you have mentioned now, you have the security on the roads coming in, there's a layer of security trying to stop you getting into the building itself and then another layer to keep them away from the planes.
They got nowhere near the planes. They did make it to the second layer here and let's look at specifically where we're talking about. You had an eyewitness earlier, Erin who talked about where she was. That was somewhere down in this area and that's where one of the explosions occurred and let me show you which one we're talking about.
This is that area where people are coming in. It's the lower part of the airport, a lower floor, where people are, as you at many airports, waiting to greet people coming in.
Watch the video related to that. This is that same area as it was at the time. You see all of the people moving and if we advance it to the actual explosion, you can see it occurs right back in there. So, a very busy area and a lot of people there.
The second location, however, was in a different part of the airport. A little bit further down. It was down in this area. So, removed by some distance there. In each case, only maybe 80 feet from the doors inside. So, trying to get past that first security area that you mentioned a minute ago.
The second one, this was where we talk about the man being -- running in here with his weapon and the police officer hiding right up in here, you see the gunman here, he's taken by the police officer and his gun is sliding right over here and when the police officer comes out, and then after the police officer sees him, he still has his weapon, the officer runs away and then this bomb goes off.
I think all indications is there will not nearly as many people hurt by this bomb because there's nobody inside here when this one goes off. First one a different story.
And then, of course, Erin, we have the question -- this is the aftermath of that area after that happened. You can see what that was like out there and you can see the damage, actually to these windows here around this which looks pretty robust glass there.
And then we have the question of the third explosion. We keep hearing about that. We haven't been able to locate that, yet, Erin and there's talk that it could be related to this parking deck out here somehow because a lot of people talked about gun fire out here. Whether or not there was a third explosion or if it was successful we don't know yet, but that gives you an idea. One, somewhere out here, maybe. One definitely right in this area and then one right over in here, Erin. BURNETT: All right. Tom Foreman, thank you very much.
My panel back OUTFRONT with me now.
[19:45:01] And, you know, Mitch, when you see this, Bob looked at multiple levels of security that they would have gotten through on some levels, driving and then walking. One of them with an assault rifle and all of them with some sort of a vest or a belt or whatever it might have been.
Does that shock you that that was possible?
MITCH SILBER, FORMER NYPD DIRECTOR OF INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS: Well, I mean, it seems like these people, there's a decent they had familiarity with the airport, as well. I mean, we know that roughly 7,000 European foreign fighters have gone through Syria and Iraq, the primary transit point would have been through Istanbul airport. So, a lot of foreign fighters coming in and this being the location that they would first run into in Turkey.
But then you also have the potential issue that this could have been Turkish citizens in their own right who may have gone, gotten radicalized, fought in Syria and come back across the border into Turkey. One of the problems with Turkey and their strategy with ISIS is that it's been a porous border. People have been able to cross back and forth pretty much at will.
BURNETT: And, Michael, when you see this, how much planning do you see that went into this? I mean, this was clearly coordinated.
MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
BURNETT: Multiple people, past security and multiple locations. Obviously when that man when he was forced to detonate himself did not do it the way he wanted to do it, thank God. But, obviously, this was planned.
WEISS: These guys knew the airport very closely. I mean, I know that airport very closely. That scene where the guy blew himself up, I've walked that corridor many, many times.
Look, it used to be the case when you wanted to go to Syria whether as a reporter or an FSA, aspiring FSA fighter or a jihadi, you fly into Ataturk Airport and there's -- coming from New York, especially, there was a 13-hour delay, right? And then you have to transfer to the plane in Antakya, which is in the southwestern Turkey.
I've flown that route many times, on the plane from Istanbul to Antakya, we used to call it the jihadi express. You would see the guys with a long, black, Salafi beard sitting there, and it was clear they weren't going off to join a secular activist organization.
In recent years, security has gotten much more robust and much more stringent. I have been questioned many times at Ataturk within the course of several hours by different security personnel, what are you doing here? How long are you saying? The Turks have begun to take it more seriously, but you mentioned
coming back across the border. You don't necessarily have to fly there. You can drive from Turkey to Istanbul.
WEISS: It takes you about 14 hours, but you can do it.
BURNETT: You can absolutely do it. I mean, you talk about jihadi express.
I mean, Bob Baer, when you see that map of the airport, ands again, it's a fluid situation, Bob, because we know what we know right now, but we still don't know, for example, whether there were others, whether there was someone else who was a part of it and who may have escaped and we have no idea at this point beyond there were at least three.
BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Yes, Erin. You know what disturbs me about this attack besides casualties and victims about this is the Turkish police are very good and the intelligence service is sensitized to this. They've got a lot of Arabic speakers, they've got a lot of people infiltrating these groups, and yet three people were able to evade their security and get through probably one of the best protected airports in the world -- certainly better protected than American airports.
And what does this say about the stability of Turkey? They're fighting a civil war against the Kurds. They're fighting -- they have a big war on their border that's not going away any time soon and now, they have the Islamic State, maybe the Islamic State, attacking targets like Istanbul airport and we have to be concerned about the future. What's next?
BURNETT: And, Juliette, what about that what's next? We've gotten a high-visibility border police right now in New York City airports as just an example.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Yes. There's no question when something like this happen at an international airport, you will see a surge by every major U.S. city across this country. We are entering July Fourth weekend, left we forget. It is always a high-security moment because there are lots of groupings and lots of people together.
And I think you are going to see every mayor come out with a surge of police and other sort of security personnel. It's not just security theater. It's to ensure that people feel secure being out and about.
On the TSA or airport security side, I know they've sort of deployed their emergency operational outreach to all of the airlines. There were ten flights already en route from Turkey to the U.S. Those are all accounted for and fine, and those are the kinds of procedures that the U.S. puts in place when something like this happens.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to all of you. Our breaking news coverage continues. As we take a very brief break,
I want to update you though, 31 now, the death -- official death toll, 147 injured. So, those numbers that number has surged in terms of the injured.
The journalist who just landed at the airport just moments after the explosion will be my guest right after this.
[19:53:26] BURNETT: Breaking news: terror at the airport. At least 31 dead and 147 wounded after three suicide bombers blew themselves up at one of the world's busiest airports in Turkey. The chilling new surveillance video appears to be the moment that one of the bombers detonated himself inside the airport in Istanbul. The attacker on the ground seconds before the explosion. His gun has skidded across the floor and then the detonation.
Fatos Karahasan was at the airport and saw the aftermath of the attack. She joins me now on the phone.
And, Fatos, what did you see?
FATOS KARAHASAN, LANDED AT AIRPORT JUST AFTER ATTACK (via telephone): Hello. That was a really bad experience. We had just landed, we turned on our mobile phones, picked up the news alert about this terrible attack on the airport, no details yet.
And then, we said, maybe we would stay and wait on the plane, but somehow they got us out and we were transferred to the main terminal, and you could see that there was something awkward because no planes were landing and it was an empty airport.
We went in, elevators were not working and then we started to walk passport control. Everything was blocked, and I saw people screaming and running. We didn't understand what was happening, but you know, the fear started to build up, and we sat down, read the news and talked over the phone and in the meantime, some other passengers were brought in, and some started to find a place to smoke, et cetera.
And after 45 minutes they let us out, and I could see on the face of all of the passport police officers that something terrible had happened, and which I realized coming out -- you know, I'm a frequent traveler.
[19:55:11] I pass through all those places regularly, and all I saw was terrible debris and blood stains on the uniforms of police officers. They were quite orderly. They were taking us out, but it was really a terrible feeling.
We went out and I realized even more how terrible it had been and there were no cars, no taxis. We went to the parking space and we had to walk, like a kilometer to find a vehicle.
KARAHASAN: Luckily, in my group of friends, someone had parked their car in a parking place nearby. So he took us out and we got a cab.
But, you know, I was listening to a program as one of our colleagues mentioned, and it was really an apocalyptic feeling. It was a bad feeling. I had that feeling after the earthquake in Turkey. You really feel helpless and you don't know.
You don't understand. It's absurd. It's a shock. It's a bad feeling, really, I can guarantee you that.
BURNETT: Well, Fatos, thank you very much for sharing with us.
The stories are horrific and when she says the blood on the uniforms of police but how orderly they were trying still to do their jobs and help others to safety.
Our breaking news coverage continues after this.
BURNETT: Thanks for joining us.
Our breaking news coverage continues right now of the horrible terror attack at Ataturk International in Istanbul with "AC360" and Anderson right now.