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The World Council of Churches' (WCC) general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, has condemned as an “odious crime” the lethal attack by gunmen at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport who turned themselves into suicide bombers killing at least 36 people and wounding 147 others.

Turkish authorities were quoted by the BBC as saying that the attack was probably carried out by the group that calls itself ISIL, IS or Daesh and that says it is waging its war in the name of Islam, whilst carrying out the attack during the holy month of Ramadan.

“We pray for the victims and their families,” said Tveit, “and we hope and pray there can be a redoubling of efforts to bring peace to the region to end the conflicts which are fueling such odious criminal acts.

“This attack is particularly monstrous as it was clearly aimed at causing maximum casualties to the innocent during a particularly busy time at one of the world’s busiest hub airports.”

The attack on Europe's third-busiest airport on the night of 28 June is one of the deadliest suicide bombings recently in Turkey, as the country struggles to deal with millions of refugees from neighbouring Syria's civil war and it faces an insurgency by Kurdish militants in its south-east.