Istanbul terror: Attackers dressed as Santa Claus open fire at nightclub, 35 killed
Los Angeles : In a tragedy that hit Istanbul, at least 35 people were killed in an attack on a nightclub in Turkey.
Istanbul's governor Vasip Sahin confirmed that one police officer has been among the dead and called it a terror attack.
According to reports, nearly 40 people were injured in the attack which took place in the Reina nightclub, in the Ortakoy area, at about 01:30 local time (22:30 GMT).
Witnesses claim that one of the attackers was dressed in a Santa Claus costume.
Sahin told reporters, "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."
The Reina nightclub sits on the banks of Bosphorus in the city's European side and was popular not only with Turks, but with foreigners as well.
Reportedly there were nearly 700 people in the nightclub at the time of the attack, some of whom are believed to have jumped into the water to escape.
Condemning the attack, US President Barack Obama public statement read, “The President expressed condolences for the innocent lives lost, directed his team to offer appropriate assistance to the Turkish authorities, as necessary, and keep him updated as warranted."
LIST of Deadly attacks in Turkey in 2016
- 10 December: Twin bomb attack outside a football stadium in Istanbul kills 44 people, Kurdish militant group claims responsibility
- 20 August: Bomb attack on wedding party in Gaziantep kills at least 30 people, IS suspected
- 30 July: 35 Kurdish fighters try to storm a military base and are killed by the Turkish army
- 28 June: A gun and bomb attack on Ataturk airport in Istanbul kills 41 people, in an attack blamed on IS militants
- 13 March: 37 people are killed by Kurdish militants in a suicide car bombing in Ankara
- 17 February: 28 people die in an attack on a military convoy in Ankara