Officially numbering 39, the number of dead is expected to rise in the New Year’s Santa Claus attack on party goers in Istanbul, Turkey.
This terror attack follows close upon the heels of the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey last week. It’s believed that roughly half the victims in this shooting are foreigners. The embedded video immediately below captures on-the-ground footage following the attack.
As of the writing, the gunman is still on the loose. Here’s what is alleged to be CCTV images of the terrorist.
At least 39 people, including 16 foreigners, have died in an attack on a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey’s interior minister has said.
Suleyman Soylu also revealed police were still hunting for the “terrorist” who attacked the Reina nightclub at about 01:30 local time (22:30 GMT).
For hours after the attack the authorities had said nothing about the whereabouts of the assailant.
Another 69 people were being treated in hospital, the minister added.
“The search for the terrorist continues… I hope (the attacker) will be captured quickly, God willing,” Mr Soylu said.
The Turkish authorities have imposed a media blackout on coverage of the attack, but it does not extend to official statements.
Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin earlier revealed a police officer had died in the attack.
One attacker was involved, the governor said, while CNN Turk reported he was dressed in a Santa Claus costume.
“A terrorist with a long-range weapon … brutally and savagely carried out this incident by firing bullets on innocent people who were there solely to celebrate the New Year and have fun,” Mr Sahin told reporters at the scene of the upmarket Reina nightclub in the the Ortakoy area on the banks of Bosphorus.
The club was popular not only with Turks, but with foreigners as well, according to the BBC’s Selin Girit in Istanbul.
She added some eyewitnesses spoke of there being not one but two attackers.
There were reportedly as many as 700 people in the nightclub at the time of the attack, some of whom have jumped into the water to escape.
Dogan news agency reported that some witnesses claimed the attackers were “speaking Arabic” while Turkish television channel NTV said special force police officers were searching the nightclub.