Although police failed to stop a deadly attack Tuesday at Istanbul’s international airport, their attempt to confront suspected suicide bombers at the entrance to the terminal demonstrates a new strategic approach to security that more airports should adopt, experts say.
The officers saved countless lives by keeping the attackers from getting deeper into the terminal and closer to clusters of people waiting at security checkpoints and check-in counters, said Anthony Roman, president of Roman & Associates, which consults on security and risk management.
“The explosive effect of that same bomb going off (farther inside the airport) is exponential, the collateral damage and casualties is exponential,” Roman said. “It would have been hundreds dead.”
At least 41 people were killed and more than 230 wounded in the assault on Ataturk airport.
One of the attackers drew the attention of guards posted outside the terminal because he wore a jacket in 80-degree summer heat, Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper reported. The guards followed the suspect as he met up with two other men. When the men realized they had police attention, they hurried to hit their targets.
Police officers fired on two of the attackers shortly after they entered the international arrivals area, but both attackers detonated suicide vests, the state-run Andalou news agency reported. A third attacker blew himself up outside the terminal.