Turkish officials said they expected the death toll to continue to rise. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said early signs suggest that it could have been an operation carried out by ISIS, but no one has so far admitted the attack.
Meanwhile, operations at the busy airport, one of the fastest growing in the world, ground to a halt, with planes diverted to neighboring airports and flights to or from the United States ordered grounded by the FAA. Around 10 p.m. ET, the US lifted its hold and Turkish authorities reopened the airport to arrivals and departures.
Last year, Ataturk passed Frankfurt airport to become the third-busiest airport in Europe, after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle. More than 61 million travelers used the airport in 2015.
Turkey has been hit by a string of deadly attacks in the past year, blamed on both Kurdish rebels and ISIS.