Muhammed Amiri, the father of 8-year-old Huda Amiri, was safe in Saudi Arabia when terrorists attacked Turkey’s Istanbul Ataturk Airport on Tuesday evening, leaving 44 dead and upwards of 200 injured.
He knew that eight members of his family, including his daughter, were landing in Istanbul, en route to visiting other family members in Turkey.
But then, he received a phone call that would change his life forever — a call unimaginable for any parent.
Huda, along with three of her aunts — sisters Meryem Amiri, 14, Kerime Amiri, 24, and Zahra Amiri, 16 — were among those killed during the attack. All four held passports from Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
As the family was waiting outside for a taxi, an explosion detonated inside of the airport’s international terminal, close to where the group was standing.
After hearing the initial explosion, Abdulmumin Amiri, the sisters’ father, ran toward his daughters, who were only five feet away from him, but he was too late and could not save them.
One of his daughters was already dead. Abdulmumin brought the three others who were critically wounded to the hospital, but there, they succumbed to their injuries.
“We are so powerless, so helpless against these terrorists,” Abdulmumin told CNN’s Matt Rivers.
‘I lost her’
Other members of the family sustained minor injuries and were also ushered to the hospital, only to be released hours later to prepare a funeral for their loved ones.
Rivers attended the funeral held at a local mosque and spoke to Muhammed Amiri, the father of 8-year-old Huda.
He told Rivers that before Huda had left Saudi Arabia, she had hugged him, asking him to come with her on their trip. He told her that he would go to see her soon.
Holding back tears, he realized that he would never see his daughter again.
“She was very lovely,” Amiri said, placing his hand on his daughter’s casket. “But I lost her.”