At Least 35 People Killed After Shooters Dressed As Santas Open Fire In Istanbul Nightclub - Live Feed

Live Feed from Istanbul courtesy of RT:

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Turkey greeted the New Year with another tragedy after at least 35 people were killed and 40 wounded around 1:15 am local time, when gunmen dressed as Santas opened fire on New Year's revelers at a nightclub in Istanbul on Sunday morning, Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin told reporters.

 

Ambulances line up in front of the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, where a gun
attack took place during a New Year party.

The assailant shot a police officer and a civilian as he entered the Reina nightclub before opening fire at random inside according to Reuters. The club lies on the shore of the Bosphorus Strait in the Ortakoy district of Turkey's most populous city.

 "A terrorist with a long-range weapon ... brutally and savagely carried out this incident by firing bullets on innocent people who were there solely to celebrate the New Year and have fun," Sahin told reporters at the scene.

Dozens of ambulances and police vehicles were dispatched to the club in Ortakoy, a cosmopolitan neighborhood nestled under one of three bridges crossing the Bosphorus, and home to clubs, restaurants and art galleries. Reina is one of Istanbul's best-known nightclubs, popular with locals and tourists alike.

Sahin told local media that the assailants first killed the police officer, who was standing at the door of the club, and then went on a rampage inside, killing innocent civilians. A policeman and a civilian are reported to be among the two known casualties at the nightclub. There were two attackers involved, according to NTV, but conflicting reports also described a lone gunman.

The gunmen were dressed in Santa Claus outfits, wielding assault rifles, Turkish media said.

According to RT, one of the gunmen has reportedly hidden inside the club, while the whereabouts of the second one were not immediately clear. The number of casualties may rise, as local press estimates that between 500 and 600 people could have been in the club at the time of the attack, Mynet Haber reports.

Emergency crews have been evacuating injured people from the building as the police search for suspects. Some people jumped into the waters of the Bosphorus to save themselves and were being rescued by police.

A search and rescue operation for those who jumped in the water is being carried out by maritime police.