Istanbul Nightclub Attack: Islamic State Claims Responsibility As Manhunt Continues

Manhunt continues after at least 39 people killed and 70 injured.
First aid officers carry an injured woman at the site of an armed attack on January 1, 2017 in Istanbul.
First aid officers carry an injured woman at the site of an armed attack on January 1, 2017 in Istanbul.
IHLAS NEWS AGENCY via Getty Images

Dramatic footage of the Istanbul nightclub shooting has emerged showing bullets ricocheting off cars outside the venue, and the gunman holding his weapon following the attack, as Turkish police struggled to track down an assailant.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, in which at least 39 people died and many more were wounded.

A manhunt continues for the attacker, who unleashed a salvo of bullets in front of and inside a crowded nightclub during New Year’s Day celebrations.

Earlier reports suggested the gunman is believed to have been dressed as Santa Claus.

Footage below shows the attacker spraying bullets outside the Reina club.

And security video obtained by Dogan News Agency appears to show an attacker inside the club.

The CCTV footage suggests the perpetrator was prowling around moments after opening fire.

Another CCTV image is believed to show the attacker changing his jacket as he walks around inside the club.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian woman who witnessed the shooting posted a video of midnight celebrations in the club.

Natasha Volnova said she saw “an attacker from behind” and uploaded the video before the attack began.

On Monday, news agencies reported an IS statement saying the attack was “in continuation of the blessed operations that the Islamic State is conducting against Turkey, the protector of the cross.”

“A hero soldier of the caliphate attacked one of the most famous nightclubs, where Christians celebrated their pagan holiday,” the statement said.

“They used hand grenades and machine gun and transformed their celebration to mourning.”

Foreigners were among those killed, including an 18-year-old Israeli woman, three Indian citizens, a 26-year-old man from Lebanon and a Belgian national, according to the countries’ respective foreign ministries and a relative.

Close to 70 others were injured in what authorities described as a terror attack. Three of the wounded were in critical condition, Turkey’s prime minister said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vehemently condemned “the terror attack in Istanbul’s Ortakoy neighborhood in the first hours of 2017” and offered condolences for those who lost their lives, including “foreign guests.”

An estimated 600 people were celebrating inside the club that is often frequented by famous locals, including singers, actors and sports stars. Several shocked revelers were seen fleeing the scene after the attack and the music fell silent.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for what authorities immediately called a terrorist attack. Turkish officials did not comment on the possible identity or motives of the assailant.

The mass shooting follows more than 30 violent acts that rocked Turkey - a member of the NATO alliance and a partner in the U.S.-led coalition fighting against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq - in the span of year.

The country endured multiple bombing attacks in 2016, including three in Istanbul alone which authorities blamed on IS, a failed coup attempt in July and renewed conflict with Kurdish rebels in the southeast.

British tourists have been warned to “remain vigilant”.

The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) said UK tourists should follow the advice of local authorities while remaining vigilant.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson expressed condolences and support to his Turkish counterpart. He said:

“My thoughts are with the Turkish people after the cowardly act of terrorism in the Reina nightclub attack.

“I have been in touch with Foreign Minister Cavusoglu today and the Prime Minister has also written to President Erdogan to reaffirm our continued support to our Turkish friends in defeating extremism.

“Foreign Office staff in London and Turkey remain in close contact with the local authorities.”


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