The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the New Year’s nightclub attack in Istanbul. 39 people were killed and 70 wounded when a man opened fire in the Reina club.
The gunman is believed to be from Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan. Currently, he has not been found. Unlike previous reports which stated he was wearing a Santa Claus outfit, it now transpires he was dressed completely in black, and used a long barrelled weapon to kill. People from 12 different countries died.
In a statement, Isis said, “In continuation of the blessed operations that Islamic State is conducting against the protector of the cross, Turkey, a heroic soldier of the caliphate struck one of the most famous nightclubs where the Christians celebrate their apostate holiday.”
Investigations to establish whether a link exists between this attack and the one carried out last June are ongoing. Vasip Sahin, Istanbul Governor, told reporters, “At 1.15am, a terrorist carrying a long-barrelled weapon martyred the police officer waiting outside, and then martyred another citizen to enter. He then carried out this violent and cruel act by spraying bullets on innocent people who were celebrating the new year.”
When the attack happened scenes of chaos ensued. To escape some threw themselves into the waters of the Bosphorus.
One survivor, Sinem Uyanik, said, “Before I could understand what was happening, my husband fell on top me. I had to lift several bodies from on top of me before I could get out. It was frightening.” Her husband was wounded in the attack.
It is currently unknown how the gunman escaped from the club. It is just opposite the police station. Theories have surfaced suggesting he threw away his gun and mingled with the crowd to escape.
The Islamic State claims to have terror cells in Turkey. Last June, 45 people died in an attack on Istanbul airport.