Described as a terrorist attack by officials, a single gunman attacked a crowded Istanbul nightclub during the New Years celebrations tonight, killing at least 39 people, and wounding 70 others. The dead are said to include at least 16 foreign nationals.
There has been no formal claim of responsibility from any group, and the single attacker, dressed as Santa Claus, managed to get away, and remains on the loose, despite some early reports claiming he was believed to be among the slain.
The area around the Reina nightclub, a popular club along the Bosphorus, has been sealed off by police. Turkish officials say that they had a number of police on the streets around Istanbul disguised as Santa Claus themselves, which is likely part of why a guy dressed as Santa Claus wielding a high-powered gun was able to get away without being spotted immediately.
Turkey has seen more than its share of terror attacks in recent years, and a number of different groups with different agendas could conceivably be behind this attack. None is necessarily particularly inclined to have a gunman dressed as Santa, however, so it’s also entirely possible it’s a random madman.