In a statement released on Monday the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for an attack that killed at least 39 people and wounded 69 others at an İstanbul nightclub in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
“In continuation of the blessed operations that Islamic State is conducting against the protector of the cross, Turkey, a heroic soldier of the caliphate struck one of the most famous nightclubs where the Christians celebrate their apostate holiday,” the statement said as reported by Reuters.
Thirty-five victims of a massacre carried out by a lone gunman early Sunday have been identified, with 24 of them being foreign nationals and 11 Turkish citizens, DHA reported.
At slightly after 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day, a man wielding a Kalashnikov rifle reportedly killed a policeman and a civilian outside the entrance to the popular Reina nightclub and blazed his way into the club, randomly shooting at some of the hundreds of revelers bringing in the new year.
Of the 25 male and 14 female victims of the slaughter, seven were Saudi Arabian, two Indian, one from Canada, one from Syria, one from Israel, two Tunisians, four Iraqis, one Lebanese and one from Belgium. Eleven were Turkish citizens.
The Institute of Forensic Medicine (ATK) is working to identify the remaining four foreigners killed in the rampage.
Pro-government circles in Turkey continue to blame the US for the attack due to previous security warnings.
On Dec. 22 the US Embassy in Ankara had issued a security warning. Following the attack on New Year’s Day, the owner of the targeted Reina nightclub, Mehmet Koçarslan, claimed that due to “American intelligence,” Turkish security units had been taking measures for the last 10 days around the club.
In a new statement released on Sunday, the US Embassy in Ankara said that contrary to rumors circulating on social media, the US government had no information about threats to specific entertainment venues, including the Reina Club, and that the US government did not warn Americans to stay away from specific venues or neighborhoods.