Istanbul, Jan 1 (IANS) An attacker killed at least 35 people, including a police officer, in a gun attack on a popular nightclub in Istanbul, Governor Vasip Sahin said on Sunday morning.
Dozens of people were also wounded in the attack which took place in the Reina nightclub, in the Ortakoy area, at about 01:30 local time (23:30 GMT), Hurriyet Daily News cited local broadcasters as reporting.
Sahin said the attacker killed a police officer and a civilian at the gate of Reina by the Bosphorus, before entering inside and raving through the crowd celebrating the new year.
A reporter at the crime scene said live on CNNTurk that some 50 to 60 ambulances have been dispatched to the scene.
“The inglorious (attacker) raved through the place with Kalashnikovs. The US intelligence warned over such an attack about one week or 10 days ago and measures have been taken, including the sea front. And look what has happened then,” Mehmet Koçarslan told Hürriyet reporter Toygun Atilla adding that such an attack was coming, but could not be prevented.
Unconfirmed initial reports speculated that the attack was held by a person wearing Santa Claus costume.
Broadcasters also speculated that one attacker is still inside the club.
The Governor did not respond to a question on whether the attacker was still inside or not.
Reina is one of the international nightclubs in Istanbul frequented by the high-society, celebs, artists and football stars, Hurriyet Daily News added.
Some revelers had jumped into the water to escape the gunfire and were being rescued by police, NTV said.
Some 25,000 police officers have been on duty against a possible terror attack in Istanbul during the New Year’s Day celebrations in the wake of consecutive bomb attacks across the country in 2016, which claimed hundreds of lives.