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Mon, 25 Mar 2019

Northeast Today

New Year’s Attack on Istanbul Club, Leaves 35 dead

New Year’s Attack on Istanbul Club, Leaves 35 dead
January 01
09:38 2017

An attacker killed at least 35 people, including a police officer, in a gun attack held on Reina, a popular night club in Istanbul, Governor Vasip Şahin said early on Jan. 1.

Dozens of people were also wounded in the attack that was carried out before 1:30 a.m., local broadcasters have reported.

Şahin said the attacker killed a police officer and a civilian at the gate of Reina by the Bosphorus, before entering inside and raving through the crowd celebrating the new year.

A reporter at the crime scene said live on CNNTurk that some 50 to 60 ambulances have been dispatched to the scene.

“The inglorious (attacker) raved through the place with Kalashnikovs. The U.S. intelligence warned over such an attack about one week or 10 days ago and measures have been taken, including the sea front. And look what has happened then,” Mehmet Koçarslan told Hürriyet reporter Toygun Atilla adding that such an attack was coming, but could not be prevented.

Unconfirmed initial reports speculated that the attack was held by a person wearing Santa Claus costume.

Reina is one of the international night clubs in Istanbul frequented by the high-society, celebs, artists and football stars.

Some revelers had jumped into the water to escape the gunfire and were being rescued by police, NTV said.

According to a witness, there were up to 600 people in the night club.

Some 25,000 police officers have been on duty against a possible terror attack in Istanbul during the New Year’s Day celebrations in the wake of consecutive bomb attacks across the country in 2016, which claimed hundreds of lives.

Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) also announced a gag order regarding the attack.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has received information regarding the attack from Şahin.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has condemned the attack, saying that “no terror attack will destroy our unity.”

“No terror attack will destroy our unity and fraternity,” he tweeted.

Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) also condemned the attack.

EU High Representative Federica Mogherini condemned the attack from her Twitter account.

“2017 starts with an attack in #Istanbul. Our thoughts are with victims and their loved ones. We continue to work to prevent these tragedies,” she tweeted.

President Barack Obama expressed condolences for the attack at a night club in Istanbul and directed his team to offer U.S. help to Turkish authorities, the White House said.

“This afternoon the president was briefed by his national security team on the attack in Istanbul,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement.

“The president expressed condolences for the innocent lives lost, directed his team to offer appropriate assistance to the Turkish authorities, as necessary, and keep him updated as warranted.”

Another statement from the U.S. was made from the State Department.

“The United States strongly condemns the terrorist attack on a night club in Istanbul, Turkey. We extend our condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims and to the people of Turkey, as well as our hopes for the quick recovery for the wounded. We will remain in close touch with Turkish authorities throughout the investigation,” read the statement.

“We stand in solidarity with our NATO Ally Turkey in combating the ongoing threat of terrorism. Sadly, this heinous attack is only the latest effort to kill and maim innocent civilians. These attacks only reinforce our strong determination to work with the Government of Turkey to counter the scourge of terrorism,” it added.

NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg also condemned the attack.

“Tragic start to 2017 in #Istanbul. My thoughts are w/ those affected by the attack on people celebrating New Year and w/ the Turkish people,” he tweeted.

On Dec. 31, eight ISIL militants who were planning an attack on New Year’s Eve were detained in the capital Ankara.

At least 275 people have been killed and thousands wounded in major bomb attacks across Turkey staged by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) over the course of 2016.

At least 41 people, seven of them civilians and 30 police officers, were killed, while 166 others were wounded when twin bombings struck outside Beşiktaş football club’s stadium in Istanbul.

In the bloodiest single attack in Turkey’s history, at least 109 people were killed and more than 500 were wounded in twin suicide bombings targeting a peace rally in Ankara on Oct. 10, 2015. The prime minister said ISIL was the suspect.

Turkey has been carrying out the Euphrates Shield operation in northern Syria, backing the Syrian rebels against ISIL and the People’s Democratic Union (PYD), which Ankara says is linked to the PKK, for months.

Some 1,600 militants have been “neutralized” in the operation since its launch in August, the Turkish Armed Forces announced on Dec. 30.

The military uses the term “neutralized” referring to the killed, injured or captured militants.

Turkey and Russia have brokered a truce in Syria, paving the way for peace talks between the Syrian regime and the rebels excluding ISIL and te PYD in Kazakhstan’s Astana tater this month.

ISIL killed a total of 130 people in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, including 89 at the iconic music venue, the Bataclan theater.

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