No fewer than 39 persons – including at least 15 foreigners – have been killed and 69 injured in a New Year’s Eve attack on a nightclub in central Istanbul, Turkish officials have said.
A gunman opened fire in Reina nightclub at about 01:30 local time (22:30 GMT), as revellers marked the New Year.
“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.
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.
“A manhunt for the terrorist is under way. Police have launched operations. We hope the attacker will be captured soon,” he said.