Istanbul: The interior minister of Turkey has said that a shooting in Reina nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey has killed 39 people, at least 15 of them were foreigners.
The president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned the attack and said that the objective of this attack was to create chaos, he vowed to keep fighting terrorism till the end.
Suleyman Soylu, the interior minister of Turkey has said that security agencies are searching for the attacker and it is believed there was just one attacker.
He further said: “This was a massacre, a truly inhuman savagery. A manhunt for the terrorist is under way. Police have launched operations. We hope the attacker will be captured soon.”
The attacker first killed the security guard and then entered the nightclub and started shooting indiscriminately killing 39 people. The police immediately surrounded the area and emergency medical services took the injured to the nearest hospitals.
The attacker managed to escape and a large scale search operation is underway to find him.
Initial reports said that the attacker was dressed as Santa Claus but CCTV footage later showed that he was wearing a black coat and he targeted the people who were celebrating new year in the nightclub.
The governor of Istanbul has also confirmed the death of the 39 people, according to the interior ministry there were almost 600 people in the club at the moment of the attack.
According to Anadolu the Turkish news agency the family minister of Turkey Fatima Betul Sayan Kaya has confirmed that most of the deceased were foreigners from Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and others.
Sinem Uyanik, an eyewitness from the club told Associated Press news agency: “Before I could understand what was happening, my husband fell on top me. I had to lift several bodies from (on) top of me before I could get out. It was frightening.”
International leaders have also condemned the attacks, Eric Schultz, the spokesperson for the White House said in a statement: “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.”
Russian president Vladimir Putin called the attack a cynical murder of civilians and said: “Our shared duty is to decisively rebuff terrorist aggression.”
Turkey has suffered a series of terrorist attacks in 2016 including the killing of the Russian ambassador last month.