ISIS Claims Responsibility for Nightclub Massacre

Chilling video of Istanbul attack emerges
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2017 4:34 AM CST
Updated Jan 2, 2017 6:00 AM CST
ISIS Claims Responsibility for Nightclub Massacre
This image taken from CCTV provided by Haberturk Newspaper Sunday Jan. 1, 2017 shows the attacker shooting his way into the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey on Sunday morning.   (CCTV/Haberturk Newspaper via AP)

ISIS has made what is believed to be a credible claim of responsibility for the New Year's Eve horror in Istanbul. "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," the group said in a statement, released through its usual channels, per Reuters. Authorities are still searching for the gunman, who was dressed as Santa Claus as he killed 39 people just over an hour into 2017. According to reports in a Turkish newspaper, investigators believe the suspect is from Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan. In other developments:

  • Al Jazeera reports that out of the 38 victims identified from the attack on the upscale Reina Club, at least 25 were foreigners. There were victims from Belgium, Canada, France, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia, along with 11 Turkish citizens and a woman who held dual Turkish-Belgian nationality. At least one US citizen is among the 70 injured.

  • The New York Times has profiles of some of the victims, including Bollywood producer Abis Rizvi.
  • NBC reports that chilling security footage of the attack and its aftermath has appeared on social media. In one video, chaos can be seen unfolding outside the club as the gunman appears to shoot his way in. Authorities say the attacker killed a policeman and a civilian outside before entering the club.
  • The BBC reports that the attack lasted just seven minutes. From what investigators can piece together, the attacker arrived in a taxi and started shooting at people randomly after entering the club. He dropped his gun and removed his overcoat before he fled.
  • Investigators suspect that the attack was carried out by the same ISIS cell that attacked Istanbul's Ataturk Airport in June, killing 45, the Guardian reports.
  • The AP reports that Turkish officials say 147 people suspected of ISIS links have been arrested over the last week, and Turkey and Russia have hit more than 100 ISIS targets in separate operations in Syria.
(Read more Istanbul stories.)

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