A gunman shot his way into an Istanbul nightclub packed with hundreds of New Year's revelers on Sunday، killing 39 people and wounding some 70 others in what the provincial governor described as a terrorist attack. Authorities said 16 of the fatalities were foreigners، as Israel Hayom said.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry has confirmed that four Israeli women were in the club at the time of the attack. Leann Zaher Nasser، 19، from the Arab city of Tira، was killed in the attack. A second woman، 18، was moderately wounded and is said to be in stable condition. The third woman in the group was suffering from shock، and the fourth was unharmed، and was taken to a nearby police station to be deposed. The assailant shot a police officer and a civilian as he entered the Reina nightclub and opened fire at random inside، Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said at the scene. The gunman was reportedly dressed in a Santa Claus costume، which was ditched as he fled. A massive manhunt for the shooter is ongoing، police said. "A terrorist with a long-range weapon... brutally and savagely carried out this attack by firing bullets on innocent people who were there solely to celebrate the New Year and have fun،" Sahin told reporters. The club، one of Istanbul's most iconic venues، popular with locals and foreigners alike، overlooks the Bosporus، the strait separating Europe and Asia in the city's cosmopolitan Ortakoy district. Around 500 to 600 people، many of them foreigners، were thought to have been inside when the gunman opened fire at around 1:15 a.m. (local time)، CNN Turk reported. Some jumped into the waters of the Bosporus to save themselves and were rescued by police. The Hurriyet newspaper quoted Reina's owner، Mehmet Kocarslan، as saying security measures had been taken over the past 10 days after U.S. intelligence reports suggested a possible attack. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that Turkey would fight to the end against all forms of terrorism.