foto – Police investigating the attack at the Reina nightclub have established similarities with the Ataturk airport attack, reports say. Photograph: Bulent/Sipa/REX/Shutterstock
theguardian.com – Isis claims responsibility for Istanbul nightclub attack Turkish media say authorities believe gunman who killed 39 on New Year’s Eve is from central Asian nation.
Islamic Statehas claimed responsibility for a gun attack on an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people during New Year’s Eve celebrations, it reportedly said in a statement.
Turkish authorities believe that the gunman, who is still on the run after the attack, comes from the central Asian nations of Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan, the pro-government Karar and the mainstream Hürriyet newspapers reported, citing unnamed security sources.
Turkish media reported on Monday that Islamic State was behind the attack on the popular Istanbul nightclub.
The group reportedly said in a statement: “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.”
Police had established similarities with the suicide bomb and gun attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport in June and were investigating whether the same Isis cell could have carried out both attacks, Karar and Hürriyet reported.
The gunman, still at large, killed a police officer and another man outside the Reina club in the early hours of 2017 before entering and firing with an automatic rifle at an estimated 600 people inside.
Nearly two-thirds of the dead in the upmarket club, which is frequented by local celebrities, were foreigners, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency said. Many of them were from the Middle East.
The mass shooting followed more than 30 violent acts over the past year in Turkey, which is a member of the Nato alliance and a partner in the US-led coalition fighting against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. The country endured multiple bombings in 2016, including three in Istanbul alone that authorities blamed on Isis, a failed coup attempt in July and renewed conflict with Kurdish rebels in the south-east.
Isis claims to have cells in the country. Analysts think it was behind suicide bombings last January and March that targeted tourists on Istanbul’s famous İstiklal Street as well as the attack at Ataturk airport in June, which killed 45 people.
In December, Isis released a video purportedly showing the killing of two Turkish soldiers and urged its supporters to “conquer” Istanbul. Turkey’s jets regularly bomb the group in the northern Syrian town of Al-Bab. Turkish authorities have not confirmed the authenticity of the video.
The prime minister, Binali Yıldırım, said the attacker left a gun at the club and escaped by “taking advantage of the chaos” that ensued. Some customers reportedly jumped into the waters of the Bosphorus to escape the attack.