Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Turkey: Search launched for New Year’s nightclub attacker

The attacker, armed with a long-barrelled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian outside Istanbul's popular Reina club at around 1:15 am (local time) before entering and firing on people partying inside,

By: AP | Istanbul |
January 1, 2017 3:19:54 pm
turkey, turkey night club, turkey night club shooting, turkey new year shooting, istanbul, istanbul reina club, istanbul governor, turkey club attack, turkey santa attack, turkey terrorist attack, turkey interior minister, suleyman soylu, bosporus river, night club shooting in turkey, 2016 night club attacks, turkey news, world news, indian express Police secure the area as the convoy of Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu leaves after his visit to the Istanbul nightclub following the gun attack during New Year’s celebrations. (REUTERS/Osman Orsal)

Turkish police are hunting for an assailant who reportedly dressed as Santa Claus opened fire at a crowded Istanbul nightclub during New Year’s celebrations today, killing at least 39 people and wounding close to 70 others in what authorities said was a terror attack. The attacker, armed with a long-barrelled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian outside Istanbul’s popular Reina club at around 1:15 am (local time) before entering and firing on people partying inside, Governor Vasip Sahin said. He did not say who may have carried out the attack.

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Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the attacker, who has not been identified, was still at large. “Our security forces have started the necessary operations. God willing he will be caught in a short period of time,” he said.

Private NTV news channel said the assailant entered the upscale nightclub, on the shores of the Bosporus, on the European side of the city, dressed in a Santa Claus outfit.

The minister said the attacker was believed to have left the club wearing different clothing to what he entered the club in. He said the attacker is believed to have carried out the assault alone.

At least 15 of the dead were foreign nationals, Soylu said, without providing information on their nationalities. Five of the victims were identified as Turkish nationals while authorities were still trying to identify the rest. At least 69 people were being treated in hospitals, four in serious condition, Soylu said.

Three or four of the Turkish victims may have been employees at the nightclub, he said.

“This was a massacre, a truly inhuman savagery,” Soylu said.

Governor Sahin said: “Unfortunately (he) rained bullets in a very cruel and merciless way on innocent people who were there to celebrate New Year’s and have fun,” Sahin told reporters.

Some customers jumped into the waters of the Bosporus to escape the attack, the NTV report said.

Sinem Uyanik was inside the club with her husband, who was wounded in the attack.

“Before I could understand what was happening, my husband fell on top me,” she said outside Istanbul’s Sisli Etfal Hospital. “I had to lift several bodies from on top of me before I could get out. It was frightening.”

Her husband was not in serious condition despite sustaining three wounds.

Police with riot gear and machine guns backed up by armored vehicles blocked the area close to the Reina nightclub, one of the most popular night spots in Istanbul. Several ambulances flashing blue lights arrived on the scene, some taking wounded to hospitals.

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