New York

New Yorkers Hold Vigil for Victims of Istanbul Airport Attack

New Yorkers were holding vigils for the victims of the Istanbul airport attack Wednesday night, a day after the explosions killed 41 people and wounded at least 200 others. 

In Union Square, people gathered to light candles and hold signs reading "Pray for Istanbul" in an event organized by a local Turkish-American group.

"We as a group of Turkish Americans decided to have this memorial and invite our American friends because we believe there are no borders to terrorism, it affects all of us," said Serhan Baykan.

The Empire State Building also remained dark in sympathy with the victims. 

The three gun-and-bomb attacks at Ataturk Airport are being blamed by Turkish officials on the Islamic State. The U.S. Department said it is not aware of any U.S. citizens' deaths in the attacks. 

New York City police say they remain on high alert after the explosions in Istanbul, and Port Authority have stepped up armed police presence at local airports. 

Turkey has suffered several bombings in recent months linked to Kurdish or Islamic State group militants. 

The bombings included two in Istanbul targeting tourists — which the authorities have blamed on the Islamic State group. 

The attacks have increased in scale and frequency, scaring off tourists and hurting the economy, which relies heavily on tourism revenues. 

Istanbul's Ataturk Airport was the 11th busiest airport in the world last year, with 61.8 million passengers, according to Airports Council International. It is also one of the fastest-growing airports in the world, seeing 9.2 percent more passengers last year than in 2014. 

The largest carrier at the airport is Turkish Airlines, which operates a major hub there. Low-cost Turkish carrier Onur Air is the second-largest airline there.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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