Turkey nightclub attack victims came from 13 countries; many Arab nationals among 39 killed on New Year’s Eve in Istanbul, officials said, as one remains unidentified.
ISTANBUL (AFP) –– Foreigners including many nationals of Arab countries were among the dead in the New Year’s Eve shooting rampage at an Istanbul nightclub, officials said.
A total of 39 people were killed in the assault at the exclusive Reina club on the shores of the Bosphorus and 70 injured, officials said.
Thirty-eight victims have been identified, Turkish justice ministry sources said late on Sunday.
Eleven of the dead were Turkish nationals and one was a Turkish-Belgium dual-national, they said.
Seven victims were from Saudi Arabia and had travelled to Istanbul for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Three of the dead were from Lebanon and Iraq each.
Two nationals from Tunisia, India, Morocco and Jordan were killed, and Kuwait, Canada, Israel, Syria and Russia lost one citizen in the attack.
One victim remains unidentified.
|Wardini’s family confirmed to MTV Lebanon that they had been informed of the Lebanese national’s death [Elias Wardini/Instagram]|
|A former employee of the Reina nightclub cries following the attack [Huseyin Aldemir/Reuters]|
|Relatives grieve at the funeral of Ayhan Arik, a victim of the attack at Reina nightclub [Osman Orsal/Reuters]|
|Sisters of Wardini mourn at their home in Beirut [Hussein Malla/AP]|
US denies having intelligence on Istanbul club attack
Embassy in Ankara rejects media speculation, says U.S. and Turkey ‘consult closely in combating terrorism’
Ayse Humeyra Atilgan | Anadolu Agency
ANKARA — The U.S. embassy in Turkey on Sunday rejected media claims it had prior intelligence about the deadly terror attack at an Istanbul nightclub.
“Contrary to rumors circulating on social media, the U.S. Government had no information about threats to specific entertainment venues, including the Reina Club, and the U.S. Government did not warn Americans to stay away from specific venues or neighborhoods,” the embassy said in a statement.
At least 39 people, including a police officer, died after an attacker opened fire on partygoers at the venue in Istanbul’s Ortakoy district in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
Sixty-nine people were also hurt, with a number of foreigners among the dead and injured.
“As the White House and our embassy indicated earlier today, we categorically condemn last night’s terrorist attack,” the U.S. statement continued.
Sunday’s statement came after Mehmet Kocarslan, owner of Reina nightclub, claimed U.S. sources had intelligence on the attack, but later clarified his remarks, saying the U.S. had warned its citizens against such attacks.
The embassy in Ankara said a general threat warning was issued on Dec. 22 “for Turkey and various parts of Europe, as we do whenever there are indications that American citizens might be targeted or subjected to violence”.
“The U.S. and Turkish agencies consult closely in combating terrorism, including by sharing information on suspected terrorist threats. This cooperation will continue as we confront the shared threat of terrorism,” it added.