Islamic State takes credit for New Year's attack at Istanbul nightclub

The Islamic State claimed it was behind the shooting that created chaos at an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's and left 39 dead and 69 injured, according to reports from Turkish media and social media.

Hurriyet and Karar news outlets reported, citing unnamed sources, that authorities believe the shooting was similar to the June attack at the Ataturk Airport, and they are trying to determine whether both attacks came from the same Islamic State affiliate.

Meanwhile, multiple reports are pointing to a statement in Arabic circulating social media that reportedly comes from the Islamic State and takes credit for the New Year's attack, calling it revenge for Turkey's role in airstrikes and bombardments in Syria.

The gunman, who remains at large, killed a police officer and a civilian outside the Reina club in the early hours of Jan. 1 before entering the crowded club and shooting it up with a long-barreled weapon. Reports said more than 500 people were packed into the venue.

The disturbing attack was captured on video, which shows him dressed in black and carrying a backpack as he shoots the officer. Earlier reports said the gunman wore a Santa Claus costume, but officials dismissed that later. The video, which the AP obtained from the Haberturk newspaper, shows the assailant wearing a Santa Claus hat during part of the attack.

At least 24 of those killed were from other countries, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported. Many were from the Middle East, including Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, although countries from India to Belgium reported their citizens among the casualties, the Associated Press reported.

Among the injured is a businessman from Greenville, Del., WCAU-TV and The Associated Press reported. William Jacob Raak, 35, was visiting friends in Istanbul at the time of the attack. He was shot in the leg.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned “the terror attack in Istanbul’s Ortakoy neighborhood in the first hours of 2017” and offered condolences for those who died.

Contributing: Associated Press; Bart Jensen, USA TODAY.


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