At least 39 dead in Istanbul nightclub attack

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

At least 39 people have been killed and 40 injured in a New Year’s Eve attack on a nightclub in central Istanbul, Turkish officials have said

“This is a terrorist attack,” city governor Vasip Sahin said at the scene outside one of the city’s best known clubs, in Istanbul’s Ortakoy neighbourhood on the European bank of the Bosporus.

He said that at 1.15 a.m. on Sunday (2215 GMT Saturday) an attacker had forced his way into Club Reina, where between 700 and 800 people were reportedly celebrating, by shooting dead a police officer and a civilian at the entrance.

“He then carried out this violent and cruel act by spraying bullets on innocent people who were celebrating the New Year,” Sahin said, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Turkey’s interior minister, Suleyman Soylu said efforts were continuing to find the attacker, who was believed to have acted alone.

At least 69 people were being treated in hospital, the minister added. Four were said to be in a serious condition.

Only 21 of the victims had been identified, Soylu said, adding that 15 or 16 of them were foreigners.

The fate of the attacker was not immediately clear and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The DHA news agency published footage taken from a CCTV camera outside the club showing a man shooting in the busy street, with one person appearing to get hit and fall.

The attacker, who appears to be dressed in black, then disappears inside the club.

DHA had earlier reported that two men dressed as Santa Claus had attacked the club, opening fire with automatic weapons. A witness quoted by the Hurriyet newspaper also said she had seen two attackers.

“Two people were shooting with weapons. Suddenly people started to run. My husband told me not to be afraid. He jumped on top of me. People ran over me. My man was shot in three places.”

Special forces then stormed the club.

The attack came just three weeks after more than 40 people were killed when two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a football stadium also in the Besiktas district where the club is located.

Television footage from CNN Turk showed dozens of ambulances and police cars outside the club on Sunday.

“This is a malicious and treacherous attack against Turkey, our liberty, our unity, our brotherliness and against us all,” Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag wrote on Twitter.

“The fight against terrorism would continue to be carried out unflinchingly,” he added.

The White House condemned the attack “in the strongest terms” and reaffirmed its support for Turkey in the fight against terrorism.

“2017 starts with an attack in Istanbul. Our thoughts are with victims and their loved ones. We continue to work to prevent these tragedies,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini tweeted.

Security had been heightened in the city ahead of New Year’s celebrations, with a reported 17,000 police on patrol, over fears the city could be targeted by terrorists following a string of recent attacks.

But security services were concentrated elsewhere, on the central Taksim Square and Istiklal Caddesi avenue, a popular nightlife strip.

(dpa/NAN)


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  • Stella Dominic

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  • No-Comment

    “The present crop of Nigerians
    charged with the duty of running the country according to a
    constitution are incapable of meeting the demand of the unwritten component of
    the same constitution because they lack the required civilized conscience, are
    unaware of the extant social expectations or both. In a civilized society,
    Bukola Saraki will have been dropped like a bad habit from his position as
    Senate president, the moment a case of corruption was filed against him in any
    court. The UK just released Ibori after serving 5 years of his sentence, and
    now we know, his Delta state has been paying him N50 million per year pension,
    making a total of N250 million (minus allowances) paid to Ibori while he was
    sitting in jail. Every crime of corruption in Nigeria always has its dusty
    trail of surplus evidence. It is like that because the Nigerian politicians
    hide under their superfluous robes, a juvenile mind that is oxygenated in
    vanities. They are not afraid of the country’s laws and therefore not shy of
    sabotaging it in the open”.

    ……………..Qansy Salako

    (January 1st, 2017)

    • Concerned Nigeriana

      Excuse me, please!

      Do you want to force me or what? I am a patriot. I don’t want to talk about Istanbul or Turkey.
      I want to talk about how President Muhamadu Buhari is under-developing Nigeria with ignorance.
      Where are my fundamental human rights to talk only about what I really want to talk about here?
      Nobody can make me forget that I have not had electricity for eight (8) days and even till today.

      I feel for the victims of mad Muslims in Istanbul but we feel more for Nigerians robbed of livelihood
      and denied the pursuit of happiness by President Buhari’s incompetence and ignorant policy of
      price increase and national currency devaluation.

      But I insist that President Buhari must tender public accounts of his takings since he came into office.
      Buhari has not tendered any account so far. Buhari has not told us what right he has to take one billion
      Naira from the treasury or which law gave him the right to put the one billion Naira into the pocket of
      Brigadier Buba Marwa.

      I demand that President Buhari must face the Press to explain why he needs 390 million Naira to eat food in
      one year, as if he is a glutton just released from prison. These issues are more pressing than the acts of mad Muslims in Istanbul.

  • No-Comment

    Editor Premium Times,

    What is going n in Istanbul is almost like what Boko Haram did in Nigeria in the last two days after Boko Haram rose
    from the dead the third time, following President Buhari’s declaration that he has once again defeated and killed off
    Boko Haram. I laughed a lot when I saw the Army Chief Lt. General Buratai handing over a rag flag of Boko Haram to President Buhari.

    I laughed because every Boko Haram fighter is given that flag. There are hundreds of those flags. If our Army Chief
    captured ONE FLAG out of 5,000 flags we should burst into tears. Our Army Chief did not capture any Boko Haram commander, like Abubakar Shekahu, or, Abu Qaqa. Our Army Chief only captured cloth – a useless rag flag in Sambisa forest. What sort of primitive and laughable government are we running in Nigeria under this President Buhari today?

  • L’homme Diplomatique

    EDITOR SIR,

    It is time to ban Islam worldwide

    It is time to ban Islam.
    There’s no other way to stop genocide in the world if Islam is mistaken
    for a religion, because Islam is not a religion, according to the Angola’s
    government definition, but “a cult of hate breeders”, for even if that Angolan
    definition were cutting, the world would be a better place if Islam were banned
    outright. This killing of 39 people in a night club in Istanbul, Turkey, on the
    first day of a new year, when peace and goodwill should be assumed, suggests
    that Islam is neither a religion, nor for that matter, a religion of peace, but
    rather, according to U.S President-elect Donald Trump, “a religion of the low
    culture of the most backward people in the world
    ”.

    • Public Recorder

      “Sharia should be introduced all over Nigeria. I will continue to show openly and inside me,
      the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria. God willing,
      we will NOT stop the agitation for total implementation of Sharia in the country (Nigeria).

      It is a legal responsibility which God has given us, within the context of one Nigeria,
      to continue to uphold the practice of Sharia wholeheartedly. What remains for Muslims
      in Nigeria is for them to re-double their efforts and educate Muslims on the need to
      promote the full implementation of Sharia law.”

      …….General Muhammadu Buhari

      [August, 2001]

      • Edward Oliha

        @thusspokez:disqus :

        THE WORST TRAGEDY IN NIGERIA WAS THAT GIDEON ORKAR DID NOT PARTITION NIGERIA.

        NIGERIA IS NOT A UNITED COUNTRY BECAUSE ISLAM IS NOT RECONCILABLE WITH ANYTHING.

  • thusspokez

    Islam is a global cancer. Most (if not all ) of the trouble countries are either Muslim countries or have large Muslim population. World War III is long overdue to cleanse planet earth.