How Did the Istanbul Suicide Bombers Exploit the Airport Security Checkpoints?

Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport has a tight security system, so how could an attack like this be pulled off? Could it have been prevented?

The suicide bombing attacks on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on Tuesday begs the question: How did the attackers pull off the deadly attack on an airport that has one of the tighter security systems?

As CNN documented, travelers are required to go through security screenings as they enter the international terminal and after they go through passenger control. The airport — the 11th busiest in the world — also has a vehicle checkpoint that stops and checks suspicious vehicles.

So how did these suicide bombers execute their attack?

CNN’s Clarissa Ward reports the attackers might have exploited a loophole in the international arrivals hall where, despite having to go through metal detectors, there is a lighter security guard presence.

“There’s heavy security at the entrance to the international departures hall,” said Ward. “There’s a full screening process. You have an X-ray machine and you have to go through a metal detector. But in the arrivals hall, of course you don’t have that same level of security, so two of the attackers we believe went into the arrivals hall.”

The third bomber reportedly detonated outside of the first X-ray security screening, which raises concerns about whether a suicide attack there can truly be prevented since it was done outside of a security checkpoint.

“You cannot protect these airports 100% … especially in a place like Turkey, where ISIS has cells everywhere,” said Bob Baer, former CIA intelligence officer specializing in Middle East security issues.

The attackers killed 41 people and injured 239 others, according to CNN.

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