EghtesadOnline: At least 35 people, including a policeman, were killed and 40 were wounded by a gunman who attacked revelers at a nightclub in Istanbul, the city’s governor said on Sunday in comments broadcast on CNN’s Turkish channel.
The gunman, who arrived at the Reina nightclub in the Ortakoy entertainment district after midnight, killed a police officer at the entrance before opening fire on people inside the venue, Vasip Sahin told CNN Turk. Hundreds of people were at the club at the time and the wounded included foreigners. The government has imposed a ban on airing footage from the scene and any reporting that may compromise its investigation, a broadcasting watchdog said. It was unclear whether the attacker was killed; there were no signs police were conducting a manhunt, Bloomberg reported.
Turkey has suffered dozens of terror attacks killing hundreds of people in the past 18 months. The government has blamed Islamic State and Kurdish militant groups, which are both fighting Turkey’s military in Syria. Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was shot in Ankara on Dec. 19 in an assassination apparently linked to Syria’s civil war.
The U.S. condemned in the “strongest terms the horrific terrorist attack” and affirmed its support for NATO ally Turkey, Ned Price, a National Security Council spokesman, said in e-mailed comments. President Barack Obama expressed condolences for the innocent lives lost and offered assistance to the Turkish authorities, Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said in an e-mail.
Police in Ankara detained eight people whom it said were members of Islamic State in the Turkish capital’s suburbs on Saturday, according to Anadolu Agency. The state-run news organization said the militants were preparing an attack ahead of New Year’s Eve.
Turkey, which launched its biggest offensive into Syria in August to force Islamic State militants away from its border, has killed about 9,500 “terrorists” in the fighting, Defense Minister Fikri Isik told Anadolu Agency on Saturday. Russia and Turkey announced on Thursday that they brokered a cease-fire agreement in Syria that they hope will pave the way to a peace settlement ending six years of civil war.