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Palestinian boy succumbs to wounds sustained in Ataturk airport attack

July 2, 2016 6:55 P.M. (Updated: July 3, 2016 5:17 P.M.)
QALQILIYA (Ma'an) -- Three-year-old Rayan Muhammad Shreim died on Saturday of wounds he sustained during the attack targeting Turkey's Ataturk airport in Istanbul, a day after the funeral of his mother who died in the same attack.

Rayan’s death brought the total number of Palestinians who died in the Ataturk airport attack to three, including his mother
Sundus Abd al-Halim Hashem. Rayan's father was also wounded in the attack. They were from Qalqiliya in the northern occupied West Bank

Palestinian sources confirmed Rayan's death, adding his family had been traveling from Saudi Arabia to Turkey where they planned to stay three days before returning to Palestine.

A Palestinian woman identified as Nisrin Hashim Shafee Hammad from the village of Arraba in Jenin in the northern West Bank was also slain in the attack.

It was mistakenly announced on Thursday that Rayan had succumbed to his wounds, and Palestinian ambassador to Turkey Faed Mustafa issued an apology the next day for the false reports, saying that Rayan remained alive in a coma.

Mustafa at the time also expressed hope for the child’s recovery and for the recovery of another 17-year-old Palestinian girl who was also placed in intensive care in a hospital in Turkey after her stomach was hit with shrapnel.

Six other Palestinians were injured in the attacks, which took place late Tuesday night in Turkey’s busiest airport in the city of Istanbul.

The injured Palestinians, Mustafa said at the time, included a baby girl and a teenage girl from Gaza who both remained in critical condition.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that a number of Palestinians have been reported missing in the wake of the attack.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned what he referred to as the “terrorist attacks” at Ataturk airport that serves as Europe’s third-busiest airport in passenger traffic after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle, serving 61.3 million passengers in 2015.

Turkey has seen numerous gun and bomb attacks over the past two years, which have been blamed on both Islamic State militants and Kurdish separatists.

Istanbul, Turkey’s economic and tourist hub, has been the site of four major terror attacks since the beginning of 2016, with a death toll of 62 and counting.

Though no group has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack so far, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the Turkish government suspect it likely came from the Islamic State. If confirmed, this would be the terrorist group’s largest attack in Turkey to date. Recent reports have stated the attackers were identified as Russian, Uzbek, and Kyrgyz nationals.
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