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Rediff.com  » News » PHOTOS: 12 deadliest terror attacks at airports

PHOTOS: 12 deadliest terror attacks at airports

June 29, 2016 11:36 IST

Hours after three suspected Islamic State group suicide bombers targeted the international terminal of Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, killing at least 36 people and wounding many others, Rediff.com brings you some of the deadliest attacks at airports, which have left several dead and hundreds injured. 

1) Zaventem airport, Brussels

On March 22 2016, three coordinated  bombings occurred in Belgium: two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and one at Maalbeek metro station in Brussels.

Thirty-two victims and three perpetrators were killed, and over 300 people were injured. Another bomb was found during a search of the airport. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for what is now known as the deadliest act of terrorism in Belgium’s history.


2) Jinnah International Airport, Pakistan

Heavily armed militants attacked Pakistan’s busiest airport in Karachi in June 2014, in which at least 28 persons, including 12 terrorists, were killed even as the military mounted another operation amid reports of fresh firing.

Explosions and gunfire rang out as the attackers wearing military uniforms and suicide vests, and armed with grenades and rocket launchers attacked the JinnahInternationalAirport in Karachi. Twelve hours after the attack began, security forces announced they had cleared the airport of the militants.


3) Domodedovo Airport, Moscow

A suicide bomber killed at least 35 people at Russia’s busiest airport, Domodedovo airport, on January 24, 2011. The bombing killed at least 37 people and injured some 180. The blast occurred at the international arrivals section of Domodedovo Airport.

The attack was the act of a suicide bomber who stuffed a homemade bomb with small metal objects to make it more deadly.


4) PNS Mehran air base

The Pakistani Taliban attacked a naval airbase in the city of Karachi on May 22 2011 sparking an hour-long battle in which several people were killed and at least two naval aircraft were destroyed. 

Fifteen members of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan stormed the three hangars housing aircraft at the Mehran naval aviation base. They used rocket-propelled grenades to damage and destroy several warplanes. In the course of the event, 15 attackers killed 18 military personnel and wounded 16 in a sophisticated terrorist attack.


5) Glasgow Airport

On Saturday, June 30, 2007, the Glasgow International Airport witnessed a terror attack when two men rammed a petrol-filled, four-wheel-drive vehicle into the airport. It was the first terror attack to take place in Scotland since the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. The car’s driver was severely injured in the ensuing fire and five members of the public were also injured, although none were seriously harmed.


6) Madrid-Barajas Airport

On December 30 2006, a van bomb exploded in the Terminal 4 parking area at the Madrid-Barajas Airport in Spain, killing two and injuring 52. Later, the Basque nationalist and separatist organisation Euskadi Ta Askatasuna claimed responsibility for the attack.

7) Los Angeles Airport

lone terrorist gunman approached the El Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles International Airport in 2002, pulled out two pistols and started shooting at the 90 passengers standing in the line. Three people died in the attack.


8) Bandaranaike Airport, Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan rebels launched one of their boldest and most damaging attacks in July 2001 when 14 members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Black Tiger suicide squad infiltrated Katunayake air base and using suicide bombers, mortars, guns and explosives, destroyed eight military and five passenger aircraft. Eight Tigers and three air force officers died in the battle at the air base.

The six remaining LTTE members then crossed the runway to nearby Bandaranaike Airport. Using their weapons, they began blowing up civilian aircraft, which were all empty.


9) Rome and Vienna airports

Terrorists hurling hand grenades and firing Soviet-made assault rifles turned Christmas-decorated airports in Vienna and Rome into scenes of carnage leaving 16 people dead and 117 wounded on December 27, 1985.  Gunmen opened fire on passengers queuing to check-in luggage at departure desks for Israel's national airline, El Al.


10) Heathrow Airport

On 20 April 1984, a bomb exploded in the baggage area of Terminal 2 at London Heathrow Airport. The bomb exploded, as 60 people were inside the baggage area. The blast injured 22, one seriously.


11) Esenboga International Airport, Turkey

On August 7, 1982 members of the Pierre Gulumian commando group from the Armenian militant organisation ASALA launched an attack at the Esenboga International Airport in Ankara, Turkey. The attack killed nine people and injured 72 others. The attack was carried out by Zohrab Sarkissian and Levon Ekmekjian (Ekmekdjian, Ekmekçiyan), who exploded a bomb in the middle of the crowded check-in area at Ankara’s Esenboga Airport, and then opened fire with sub-machine guns on passport-control officers and passengers.


12) Entebbe Airport, Uganda

Operation Entebbe was a counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by commandos of the Israel Defense Forces at EntebbeAirport in Uganda on July 4 1976.

A week earlier, the an Air France plane carrying with 248 passengers was hijacked, by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells, and flown to Entebbe. They then demanded that Israel release 53 convicted terrorists. In an operation to release the hostages, 100 commandos stormed the airport and released 102 hostages. 

The Rediff News Bureau / Rediff.com