Israeli survivors recount Istanbul airport attack

June 29, 2016  

With Turkey reeling after Tuesday’s massive terror attack that left 41 dead and more than 200 wounded, Israelis present in the Istanbul airport at the time are returning home after the harrowing experience.

On Wednesday Arutz Sheva caught up with some of the Israeli survivors of the carnage.

Menachem, who was inside the airport at the time of the attack, described the utter chaos after terrorists opened fired near one of the entrances.

“In the first seconds nobody knew what was going [sic]. I heard the shooting and sometime after it there was the bomb. Then people started to run and shout everywhere, but nobody understood what was going. And the local security forces didn’t know English, so the only thing they could say was ‘problem, problem.’ They couldn’t tell us where to go, what to do.”

Menachem says he immediately identified the incident as a terrorist attack “In the first shooting. I heard shooting a few seconds after that I went to see what happened. And then I saw policemen with guns and I understood that I have to go back. And then there was the bomb. There’s no doubt, I recognized the smell.”

Luckily, the attackers were unable to penetrate the airport’s security perimeter and enter the terminal.

“Inside the airport is safer. They [the terrorists] didn’t succeed to reach inside. They were killed in the entrance.”

Menachem said he was “not at all surprised” there was a terror attack, and had taken precautions while touring Turkey.

“I took acts of caution [while in Turkey] not to speak in Hebrew, not to go to places where there is a chance of an attack.”

Yisrael was spared the experience of actually living through Tuesday’s deadly attack, but arrived in the terminal shortly afterwards.

“We came from Copenhagen to Istanbul [for a connecting flight back to Israel]. Half an hour before we landed in Istanbul there was the terrorist attack, and we were stuck in the plane for four hours. After four hours they took us to the terminal. I must say that the Turkish didn’t know what to do with us. Some of them wanted us to go to a hotel, others wanted us to wait in the terminal.”

“We were a big group of 80 people from Israel. Some people wanted to go to the hotel. Finally we left there and when they opened the desk we got our boarding card [sic] and we came here after 11 hours.”

Yisrael said that despite the bloodbath that had just occurred, he was not unnerved to be in the airport. “We are used to [terror], unfortunately.”

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