The Islamic State has officially claimed an attack at a New Year’s Eve celebration at Reina nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey. 39 people were killed. Read ISIS’ statement in English here.
The announcement follows speculation by Turkish officials the attack was terrorism, reports The New York Times. ISIS had previously threatened New Year’s celebrations around the globe, particularly in Turkey.
According to Al-Jazeera, the statement reads in English:
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.
According to USA Today, there was an estimated 500 people in attendance at Reina nightclub when the attack occurred.
According to The New York Post, the gunman, dressed as Santa Claus and armed with a long-barreled weapon, shot and killed a policeman and a civilian around 1:45 a.m. before entering the club and opening fire. According to CNN, the victims of the attack were from 14 countries, including India, Morocco, Jordan, Canada, Russia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.
Turkish media reports said police had established similarities with a suicide bomb and gun attack at Istanbul’s Atatürk airport in June and were investigating whether the same Isis cell could have carried out both atrocities.
There were 30 acts of terror in Turkey last year, with at least 3 of them bombings believed to have been committed by the Islamic State. Earlier this month, ISIS released a video from Al-Bab, Syria showing the execution of two Turkish soldiers by immolation. Yesterday, Islamic State media released the video with English subtitles. Watch it here.
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