Saturday, November 28th, 2020
  
 

Santa gunmen kill 35 clubbers

Turkish media is reporting that many people have been injured during an attack in an Istanbul nightclub.

Ambulances rush on the scene of an attack in Istanbul. Picture: AP

AT least one gunman, allegedly disguised as Santa, has killed 35 clubbers inside an Istanbul nightclub in a New Year’s Eve terror attack.

The gunman shot his way into the popular Reina nightclub packed with New Year’s revellers at around 1.30am local time (10.30am AEDT).

Media reports said more than one assailant may have been involved in the attack.

Istanbul’s governor Vasip Sahin confirmed 35 revellers were murdered attack and around 40 others were wounded at the nightclub in Istanbul’s Ortakoy district.

The club lies on the shore of the Bosphorus Strait in Turkey’s most populous city.

Medics carry a wounded person at the scene in Istanbul. Picture: IHA via APSource:AP

“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,” Sahin told reporters at the scene.

“Forty people are receiving treatment in hospitals,” Sahin added, describing the incident as a “terror attack”.

Ambulances are seen at the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

“Unfortunately, at least 35 of our citizens lost their lives. One was a police officer. Forty people are receiving treatment in hospitals,” Sahin added, telling reporters at the scene of the elite nightclub in the city’s European side.

Turkish anti-riot police officers stand guard at the site. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Around 500-600 people were thought to have been in the club when the attack happened early Sunday, broadcaster CNN Turk said.

Medics carry a wounded person at the scene after the attack. Picture: IHA via APSource:AP

Some jumped into the waters of the Bosphorus to save themselves and were being rescued by police.

Turkish television channel NTV said special force police officers were searching the nightclub.

Medics and security officials work at the scene after the attack. Picture: IHA via APSource:AP

Dogan news agency reported that some witnesses claimed the attackers were “speaking Arabic” while NTV broadcaster said special force police officers were searching the nightclub.

Turkish special force police officers and ambulances are seen at the site of the armed attack. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Dozens of ambulances and police vehicles were dispatched to the club in Ortakoy, a cosmopolitan neighbourhood nestled under one of three bridges crossing the Bosphorus, and home to clubs, restaurants and art galleries.

Reina is one of Istanbul’s best-known nightclubs, popular with locals and tourists alike.

An ambulance rushes from the scene of the attack in Istanbul. Picture: APSource:AP

While 40 people were injured, it remains unknown if any of those were fatally injured.

CNN Turkey reports one of the attackers allegedly entered the nightclub in a Santa costume, and opened fire at random.

The current location of the gunman is unknown. There are reports a gunman is still inside the nightclub.

People talk to medics in an ambulance near the scene. Picture: APSource:AP

One French journalist from Euronews.com is reporting that unconfirmed reports say the gunman attacked revellers with Kalashnikovs.

The attacker is believed to have opened fire at police outside the nightclub before entering and firing on people inside.

Ambulances rushing away from the scene of in Istanbul. Picture: APSource:AP

Footage taken from the outside of the club and posted to YouTube after the attack shows police and ambulance vehicles at the scene.

Media reports said police have cordoned off the area and an operation is ongoing.

Istanbul has been the target of a series of recent attacks by Islamic State and Kurdish extremist groups.

The latest attack comes as Turkey remains on a heightened state of alert following a spate of terror attacks across the country.

A police armoured vehicle blocks the road leading to the scene of the attack in Istanbul. Picture: APSource:AP

In Istanbul, 17,000 police officers were put on duty, some camouflaged as Santa Claus and others as street vendors, state news agency Anadolu reported.

Less than two weeks ago 13 Turkish soldiers were killed and dozens more wounded in a car bombing targeting off-duty soldiers being taken by bus on a weekend shopping trip.

People leave as medics and security officials work at the scene. Picture: IHA via APSource:AP

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan blamed the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for the car bomb attack on a bus in the central city of Kayseri.

That explosion came a week after 44 people were killed on December 10 in a double bombing in Istanbul after a football match. The attack was claimed by Kurdish militants.

In June, 47 people were killed in a triple suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, with authorities blaming the Islamic State group.

Another 57 people including 34 children were killed in August in a suicide attack by an IS-linked bomber at a Kurdish wedding in the southeastern city of Gaziantep.