An attacker opened fire at an Istanbul nightclub packed with people celebrating the New Year early on Sunday, killing at least 35 and wounding as many as 40 people, broadcaster NTV said.
Dozens of ambulances and police vehicles were dispatched to the club in the Ortakoy district of Turkey’s most populous city. Initial reports suggested there may have been two attackers, but an NTV reporter later said it may have been a lone assailant.
Broadcaster CNN Turk initially said the attacker was thought still to be inside the building and that police special forces were preparing to raid it. NTV said the attacker’s whereabouts were unclear.
The nightclub lies on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait which divides Istanbul in two. Some revellers had jumped into the water to escape the gunfire and were being rescued by police, NTV said.
The attacker was wearing a Santa Claus outfit when he shot at police officers outside an Istanbul nightclub early on Sunday before entering and opening fire at random people inside the building, where around 500-600 people were celebrating the New Year, broadcaster NTV said.
Police special forces and explosives experts were still searching the club in the Ortakoy district of Turkey’s most populous city, an NTV correspondent at the scene said. The whereabouts of the attacker is currently unclear.