In Turkey, police continue to search for the man who opened fire inside a nightclub during a New Year’s celebration.   Some 600 revelers from all over the world were in the Reina nightclub at the time of the attack that killed 39 people and sent 69 people to the hospital.

The Reina nightclub, which sits on the banks of the Bosphorus, is one of Istanbul’s most popular venues – often frequented by foreigners, famous singers and sports starts.  ISIS has claimed responsibility for New Year’s attack on the nightclub, where hundreds of Turks and foreigners were celebrating early in the morning. The attack killed 11 Turkish citizens and more than two dozen tourists from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, India, Morocco and other countries.

The gunman arrived at the club by taxi before rushing through the entrance with a long-barreled gun he had taken from the trunk of the car.  The attacker fired randomly at people in an assault lasting seven minutes, starting with a security guard and a travel agent near the entrance. Both were killed.

It was unclear how the attacker managed to escape from the club, which is just across the street from a police station.   It’s believed that the gunman changed clothes before and abandoned his weapon before fleeing the chaos.

The following day, Turkish authorities released two photographs of the suspected gunman from security footage inside the club.  Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said authorities had fingerprints and a basic description and they were working on identifying the attacker.

Police launched a series of raids across Istanbul, arresting at least 12 people, as they continue to search for the nightclub shooter. They released additional photographs and say he may have been from Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan.  Police are investigating whether the suspect belongs to an IS cell blamed for an attack in June on Ataturk airport in Istanbul.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed in a statement that Turkey would fight terrorism “till the end” following the attack at Reina in Istanbul’s upmarket Ortaköy neighborhood.  There was condemnation from around the world as well as inside Turkey. The US State Department described the attack as “heinous” and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said it was “hard to imagine a more cynical crime”.

Istanbul was already on high alert with some 17,000 police officers on duty in the city, following a string of terror attacks in recent months including the Ataturk airport attack that left 41 people dead over of the summer.

The most recent mass killing happened on December 10th when two bombs were detonated outside a football stadium in Istanbul, killing 38 people and wounding 155.  The first bombing was a remote control detonated car bomb.  Shortly afterward, a suicide bomber caused a second explosion less than a mile away at Macka Park.

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