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Istanbul nightclub attack: police hunt gunman who killed 39 on New Year’s Eve – live

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January 1|Yamanyoon

At least 39 people have been killed, and 69 injured, in an Istanbul nightclub after a gunman reportedly dressed as Father Christmas entered and began firing at random during a New Year’s Eve celebration.
Interior minister Süleyman Soylu said that of 21 victims identified so far, 15 were foreign nationals.
Soylu said the gunman was still on the run, contrary to earlier statements by authorities that the assailant had been killed.

The city’s governor, Vasip Sahin, said the attacker, armed with a long-barrelled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian outside the Reina club at about 1.45am before moving inside.
Sahin described it as a “terror attack” but gave no further details. There have not yet been any claims of responsibility.

It is thought up to 600 people were inside the club, an exclusive hotspot popular with tourists and local residents that sits on the bank of the eastern side of the Bosphorus.

Witnesses reported a rush for the exits, bodies lying on the floor and people jumping into the river to escape the gunman. The club’s owner said extra security measures had been brought in in the past 10 days after US intelligence reports suggested a possible attack.

Security has been increased across the city following the mass shooting in the district of Ortakoy. The US embassy has told its citizens to avoid the area and urged them to contact relatives to let them know they are safe.

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been quoted by state-run news agency Anadolu as expressing his “deep sadness”.
Mehmet Görmez, Turkey’s most senior cleric, has condemned the attack as “savagery” and a “massacre that no Muslim conscience can accept”.

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