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Mortar shells hit Istanbul airport in December attack: Investigators

The attack, which killed one woman and injured another, was claimed by an armed Kurdish rebel group
Four shells hit Istanbul's second airport in late December (AFP)

A mortar attack caused a deadly incident at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport on 23 December that left one person dead and damaged several planes, Turkish prosecutors said on Thursday.

Four mortar shells were fired from a forested area around two kilometres from the airport, prosecutors said in a statement carried by the Anadolu news agency.

A 30-year-old woman working as a cleaner at the airport, named as Zehra Yamac, was killed in the blast.

A Kurdish group claimed responsibility for the blast, but this is the first official statement confirming an attack.

The group, which calls itself the Freedom Falcons of Kurdistan (TAK), posted a statement on its website saying it had carried out an attack at the airport using mortar shells.

Turkish officials say TAK is a front for PKK attacks even though the PKK says it has no affiliation with the group.

On its website, TAK lashed out at what it described as a "war coalition" between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Islamic State group against the Kurds. 

It also said the airport attack was a response to the "fascist attacks that turn Kurdish cities into ruins."

The armed group, which had been silent for some time, claimed the attack had inflicted "serious damage" to the airport and that five planes were "heavily" damaged.