Turkey: Over 39 people were killed in terror attack in Istanbul’s nightclub

People react on the street outside the Istanbul nightclub where at least 35 people died in a New Year’s attack. Photo: yasin akgul/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The New York Times – At least 39 people were killed and dozens more were wounded when a single gunman attacked a crowded Istanbul nightclub about an hour after midnight on New Year’s Day, Turkish officials said.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu called it an act of terrorism and said the gunman was still being sought early Sunday.

Sixteen of the people killed were foreigners, the Foreign Ministry said; it was not clear if any were Americans. At least 69 people were being treated at hospitals, Mr. Soylu said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the mass shooting, which came as threats against Turkey by the Islamic State and its supporters have increased. It was the fourth terrorist attack in Turkey in less than a month.
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This one started about 1:15 a.m. at the Reina nightclub, which overlooks the Bosporus and is known for its celebrity clientele and is popular among foreigners. As many as 600 people were celebrating the New Year when a lone attacker, said to be armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, burst in, officials said.

Gov. Vasip Sahin of Istanbul Province said a police officer outside the club had been killed before the bloodshed began inside.

“One person first kills the police officer outside, and then a civilian,” Mr. Sahin said. “Inside, he rained bullets brutally, mercilessly over innocent people who were there just to celebrate the New Year and have fun.”
Photo
A statement threatening attacks in Turkey that was published this week by Nashir Media Foundation, an organization with connections to the Islamic State.

In the ensuing panic and the rush to escape, some clubgoers jumped into the Bosporus — which separates Europe and Asia — and others hunkered down for safety.

Sinem Uyanik, who was there with her husband, Lutfu Uyanik, told The Associated Press that she had seen several bodies inside the club. Her husband was wounded, she added, but not seriously.

“Before I could understand what was happening, my husband fell on top me,” she said. “I had to lift several bodies from on top of me before I could get out.”

A wounded man on a stretcher told the independent Turkish news agency DHA that the attacker had “put a bullet to the head of anyone alive.”

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