Just after midnight in Istanbul, Turkey tonight, on New Year’s Day, attackers opened fire at a nightclub called Reina. According to Al Jazeera, the club is located on the shore of the Bosphorus Strait and is a well-known, popular night spot. Vasip Sahin, the governor of Istanbul, has called the incident an act of terror.
For more information on the attack, read on below.
1. The Attackers Were Dressed In Santa Suits
According to CNN, attackers opened fire inside Reina nightclub, around 1:15 a.m. and they were dressed in Santa suits.
The New York Times reports that the club’s owner Mehmet Kocarslan reported the assailants using Kalashnikov rifles as their weapons.
2. A Total of 35 Victims Have Been Reported
Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin stated that an estimated 35 people were killed at the club, with approximately 40 others injured. Eight of the injured are reported to be in critical condition.
3. The Nightclub Owner Mehmet Kocarslan Said American Intelligence Had Warned About an Attack
Because of all the terror attacks in recent months, BBC reports that the city has been on high alert with approximately 17,000 police officers on duty. During a speech in Ankara, Russian ambassador, Andrei Karlov, was shot and killed by an off-duty Turkish policeman named Mevlut Mert Altintas.
Reina nightclub owner Mehmet Kocarslan told a Hurriyet news site that there has been increased security throughout the past 10 days because American intelligence officials had warned of the possibility of an attack.
4. The Assailants Have Not Been Identified
In a report made by Al Jazeera, one of the attackers is believed to have been killed at the scene. Reporter Jamal Elshayyal explained:
What security services will be trying to ascertain is not only how many attackers there were but what kind of weapons were used and how they were able to overcome security precautions.
Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin told the press that:
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.
5. In Wake of the Attack, the Turkish Government Has Called for a Media Blackout
BBC has reported that the Turkish government is taking measure to try to ensure safety and one method is calling for a media blackout. The government is citing security and public order concerns as the reasons for the blackout.