During New Year’s celebrations at about 1:45 am a man dressed as Santa Claus entered the Reina nightclub in Istanbul and opened fire on the people celebrating there. At least 39 were killed and almost 70 wounded from the terror attack. Before entering the nightclub the assailant who was armed with a long muzzle weapon killed a policeman and a civilian outside and then proceeded to carry out his attack.
NTV said that the police cordoned off the area two miles around the nightclub and are searching for the assailant who is still at large. It should be noted that this nightclub is not far from the soccer stadium where there were recent suicide attacks this past month.
As Istanbul and Ankara were both thageted this year in teror attacks from ISIS or kurdish Rebels preparations were made to prevent terror attacks. 17,000 police officers were on duty and police blocked traffic from getting to main squares in these cities. Plainclothesmen were dressed as Santa Claus and street vendors.
18 of the victims are unidentified, 5 are Turkish nationals and at least 16 are foreign nationals. At least 69 wounded are being treated in hospitals with 4 of them in serious condition.
Interior Minister Suleyman Solyu said they are still looking for the man. “Efforts to find the terrorist are continuing. Our security forces have started the necessary operations. G-d willing he will be caught in a short period of time,” the minister said.
President Obama was briefed by his national security team and expressed condolences for the attack and condemned it calling it “a horrific terrorist attack”. He also directed his team to offer
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Twitter that: “Turkey will continue its determined and effective combat to root out terror.”