News of the devastating terrorist attack Tuesday at the Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey has rattled the world-over. Three men – whom Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said appeared to be Islamic State militants – opened fire in the third busiest airport in Europe before blowing themselves up. The horrific attack bore 41 fatalities and wounded nearly 150 innocent lives.
According to the Chinese foreign ministry, about 90 Chinese nationals were at the airport during the deadly attacks. All have been evacuated – unharmed – and there are no reports of injuries, said the ministry’s spokesman Hong Lei.
State-run news agency Xinhua reported this information Wednesday, though both Reuters and the Associated Press published that there was one Chinese fatality, citing anonymous Turkish officials as saying such.
Hong Kong’s Travel Industry Council said that 80 Hongkongers have been confirmed safe.
Making a statement on behalf of the Chinese foreign ministry, Mr. Hong said that China condemned terrorist attacks against civilians, and called for the international community to strengthen its efforts to combat terror attacks and to ensure regional security.
“China strongly condemns this terrorist attack, which targets civilians. We resolutely oppose to all kinds of terrorist activities, and call on the international community to strengthen cooperation and coordination to counter terrorism, and to safeguard regional peace and stability,” Hong said.
According to the Travel Industry Council’s executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung, the 80 Hongkongers at the airport during the attacks were part of four Hong Kong tour groups. One group was set to fly back to Hong Kong Wednesday night, while the other three were scheduled to return in early July.
Mainland Chinese media reported that the 90 Chinese citizens consisted of approximately 20 workers from the Hubei, Shandong, and Henan provinces, and the rest being tourists from Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai.
With the recent surge in deadly violence coming from neighboring Syria’s civil war as well as rebellion by Kurdish militants in its southeast, Turkey has risen up in the international world as a precarious and dangerous country to keep a close watch on.
To that end, the country is on Hong Kong’s amber alert travel list, which urges those traveling to monitor the situation and respectively exercise caution.