Their voices rose in the vast terminal of one of the world’s busiest airports. They were ordinary people – children reuniting with relatives, a father looking for his son, weary business travelers, airport cafeteria workers and uniformed security guards.
Their distinct accents, faces and attire reflected the diversity of Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, a bustling crossroads bridging Europe, the Middle East, and the rest of Asia. They are among the 44 people killed when terrorists stormed the airport Tuesday, opened fire and detonated explosives.
The victims were mostly Turkish. Six were Saudis. Other fatalities included three Palestinians, two Iraqis, one Tunisian, one Chinese, one Iranian, one Ukrainian, one Jordanian and one person from Uzbekistan, according to Turkish officials.
Here are some of their stories:
Huda Amiri and her aunts Kerime Amiri, Zehra Amiri, Meryem Amiri
Muhammed Amiri gently passed his hand over the casket that held the body of his 8-year-old daughter Huda. She had arrived in Istanbul on Tuesday from a family visit.
Outside the terminal waiting for a taxi, Huda was killed along with her three aunts: Kerime Amiri, 24; Zehra Amiri, 16; Meryem Amiri, 14.
Abdulmumin Amiri, Huda’s grandfather, also was with the women. He was about 15 feet away at the time of the attack.
“I ran over,” he told CNN. “One was already dead. I took the other three to the hospital. They died, too.”
Two other daughters and his wife Hacirah were among the 239 injured in the attack.
On Thursday, Muhammed Amiri stood vigil at little Huda’s coffin.
“Before she goes, she hugs me and she told me, ‘Father, come with us,’” he said. “I tell her that I will come.”
Then, he stares down at the casket. “She was very lovely. I lost her.”
Nearby were the caskets of Huda’s aunts.
“I’m heartbroken,” Abdulmumin Amiri said. “We are so powerless and helpless.”
Dr. Fathi Bayoudh
Dr. Fathi Bayoudh was on a mission to get his son back from ISIS. Instead, he was killed in the airport massacre that may have been planned by the terror group.
Bayoudh, chief of pediatrics at Tunis Military Hospital and a medical school professor, was in “total despair” when he son Anwar went missing last year, according to longtime family friend Ali Gannoun, a professor at University of Montpellier in France.
The son originally said he was was going to Switzerland for an internship – and was taking his wife. But Anwar, who studied medicine for a time, contacted his family months later to say he had joined ISIS as a medic but wanted out, Gannoun said.
“He was never in the front lines, never killed anybody,” Gannoun said.
Anwar’s family paid smugglers to get the couple out of Iraq, according to Gannoun. They traveled through Syria and arrived in Turkey days before the slaughter at Ataturk airport.
Bayoudh had traveled to Turkey in hopes facilitating his son’s return. Turkish authorities had informed Bayoudh that Anwar and his wife were in the custody of security forces near Turkish-Syria border, according to an official with Turkey’s Foreign Ministry.
The young man had spent three months in ISIS-controlled territory in Iraq or Syria but was now safe, the official said.
The doctor called his wife with the good news. Bayoudh was picking her up at the airport the day of the attacks.
“You died as a hero, Fethi, and you left as a martyr,” Gannoun wrote on his Facebook page.
“You managed to recover your kid. He will live his freedom without you, but he will still be the son of a great man, an exceptional father and an outstanding physician.”
Now, arrangements were being made to turn the son over to Tunisian authorities. It was unclear whether his father’s body would travel back with him.
“What you did is beyond love,” Gannoun wrote. “We will remember your endless patience, your legendary determination and courage lacking in many of us.”
Sundus Abdulhalim Basha and Nisrin Hashem Hammad
Three Palestinians were killed in the attacks, the Palestinian diplomatic mission said. Sundus Abdulhalim Basha, 25, died Wednesday from her injuries. Her son, 3-year-old Rayan Mohammad Shremeh, was declared dead Saturday after being on life support since Tuesday.
The other Palestinian who died in the attacks was Nisrin Hashem Hammad, 26.
Six other Palestinians were being treated at a hospital in Istanbul.
The families had arrived from Jeddah to vacation in Turkey. They planned to return to the West Bank to celebrate the Ramadan holiday Eid with their families.
The victims’ bodies were to be transferred to the West Bank.
With dark hair and a slight smile, Özgül Ide is remembered on the Facebook page of her alma mater, Istanbul Arel University:
“A worker at Ataturk airport, a graduate from Tourism and Hospitality in 2015, we lost Ozgul Ide during the terrorist attacks. To our student we wish from God that she rests in peace and to her grieving family, our condolences.”
Merve Yiğit, 22, died from her injuries at a hospital, according to Turkey’s official news agency Anadolu. A framed photo of her was on display at a memorial at the international terminal, along with those of other airport workers killed on Tuesday.
On Thursday afternoon, the din of Ataturk’s international terminal stopped for a moment of silence. The photos of 15 airport workers sat atop a table draped in cloth, with a banner displaying the now all-too-familiar phrase: “We will never forget.”
Those who stopped said prayers and remembered all the victims, covering the memorial with enough red carnations to represent each of the fallen and more.
“May God grant us patience, bless them, make heaven theirs,” the airport Iman said, fighting back tears.
Throughout the day, people stopped to look at the memorial, instantly recognizing workers they had encountered.
“That’s the girl from the pastry shop,” someone remembered.
“That’s the security guy,” another person said.
Hüseyin Tunç, 28, was meeting a friend at the airport when he was killed.
A high school teacher for three years, Tunç was remembered at a funeral service Thursday.
Family members and many of his students surrounded his casket.
The young teacher was buried next to his father, Musaffer, who died when Tunç was 7 years old.
His 79-year-old grandmother, Sabahi, wept as she shoveled dirt onto Tunç’s grave.
Serkan Türk, 29, was from Samsun, Turkey. The former national wrestler lived in Istanbul. Türk was helping the wounded, and died after the second blast.
Ertan An, 38, was a translator from Tunceli, Turkey. He had brought a tourist group to the airport when the terrorists attacked.
Murat Güllüce worked as a translator in a hotel.
Sıddık Peçenek was part of airport personnel.
Abrorjon Ustabayev, 22, was from Uzbekistan and sold suitcases at the airport.
Ethem Uzunsoy, 53, was part of airport ground services personnel.
Habibullah Sefer, 26, was from Uzbekistan and had just graduated from college.
Sadık Petek, 47, was ground services personnel.
Sıddık Turgan, 67, was a Turkish citizen of Afghan origin, and had two daughters.
– Çağatay Çöl
– Mustafa Biyikli
– Erol Eskisoy
– Ali Zülfikar Yorulmaz
– Mahmut Mert
– Umut Sakaroglu
– Ercan Sebat
– Tevfik Yusuf Haznadaroglu
– Mahmut Çizmecioğlu
– Nisreen Hashem Shammad
– Adem Kurt
– Abdulhekim Bugda
– Muhammet Eymen Demirci
– Gülşen Bahadır
– Yasin Ocal
– Ferhat Akkaya
– Mukhiddinov Samet
CNN’s Mohammed Tawfeeq, Julia Jones, Marilia Brocchetto, Chuck Johnston, Christina Zdanowicz, Justin Lear and journalist Joe Duran contributed to this report.