At least 39 people were killed early Sunday morning when a lone gunman opened fire in an Istanbul nightclub amidst New Year’s Day celebrations. According to the Anadolu news agency, at least 24 foreigners are among the dead, including citizens of Belgium, Iraq, France, India, Libya, Israel, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that 69 people were hospitalizedand four remain in critical condition. There were an estimated 600 people in the club, called “Reina”, at the time of the shooting.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, and a nationwide manhunt is currently underway to apprehend the shooter. The Turkish government appears firmly convinced the shooting was an act of organized terrorism, despite widespread reports that the shooter was wearing a Santa Claus outfit. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim denied these reports, saying on Sunday, “There is no truth to this. He is an armed terrorist as we know it.”
Turkish President Recep Erdogan also defaulted to calling the attacker a “terrorist”, bent on breaking the people’s resolve. ‘They are working to destroy our country’s morale,” Erdogan said, “and create chaos by deliberately targeting our nation’s peace and targeting civilians with these heinous attacks.”
If this attack truly was, as the government claims it to be, an act of terror, it would be the fourth to occur in Turkey in less than a month.
The United States government has also called the shooting a terrorist attack, according to CNN.
[via New York Times]