ISIS Claims Responsibility for Istanbul New Year's Attack
ISIS is claiming responsibility for an attack that left 39 people dead and dozens more injured an hour after midnight on New Year’s Day in Istanbul.
Officials say the attack started around 1:15 a.m. at the Reina nightclub, which overlooks the Bosporus. As many as 600 people were celebrating the New Year when a lone attacker, armed with a rifle, burst in and began to open fire into the crowd. Police believe he killed a police officer outside the club to get in before his attack began.
Television footage shows ambulances rushing to the scene as police began the search for the lone gunman. Currently, police have 12 people in custody, but they do not believe they have the suspect who pulled the trigger. He has been identified as 28-year-old Lakhe Mashrapov, a citizen of Kyrgystan.
The owner of the Reina nightclub said security had been beefed up at the location after American intelligence officials warned about an attack in Turkey over the holidays.
The shooting came just days after Nashir Media Foundation, a group identified by experts as being pro-Islamic State, published the last of three messages calling on individual attackers in the West to turn the holiday season into days of “terror and blood.” The message urged attacks on clubs, markets and movie theatres.
An ISIS group made a statement on Twitter that boasted the attack was the first major terror attack of 2017.