Istanbul attack: At least 39 dead, 69 wounded; haunt of secular Turkish elite and foreigners; “Allahu Akbar”

Istanbul attack: At least 39 dead, 69 wounded; haunt of secular Turkish elite and foreigners; “Allahu Akbar”, by Euan McKirdy.

Twenty-one of the dead have been identified, he said. Of those, 16 were foreign nationals and five were Turkish.

US officials also called it a terrorist attack, making it the first of 2017.

At least one gunman still on the run — it is unclear how many attackers were present.

There have been no claims of responsibility.

Reina club: top party haunt of Turkey’s elite, by AFP.

The upmarket Istanbul Reina club … is the haunt of Turkey’s young secular elite and one of the most prestigious nightspots in the city. …

It’s expensive and hard to get into, with bouncers giving would-be guests a hard time at the entrance to ensure they look sufficiently well-moneyed and beautiful. …

The club is popular with foreign visitors. …

The parties at Reina are legendary, with the action usually not starting until well after midnight and the venue endowed with several restaurants and dance floors.

Image of suspect released after gunman ‘screamed Allahu Akbar’ before killing 39, by Steve Robson.

Chilling CCTV showed the killer dressed in a woolly hat shooting at random outside the club before he stormed inside. …

Dr. Ayia Ihsan Abd al-Hay, a dentist, was one of a group of four Israeli women who were in the club.

She told Israel’s Channel 2 News in Istanbul on Sunday that Nasser worked for her as a dental technician and that she was devastated by her death.

She said the gunman “shouted Allahu Akbar” as he opened fire, that she couldn’t identify his accent, and that his actions were “so cruel.” …

Authorities are still working to establish the motive behind the attack, but suspicious are focussed on ISIS which has promised retaliation for Turkey’s support for Western forces in Syria.

A Lebanese woman, who gave her name only as Hadeel, said: “We heard the guy screaming Allahu akbar, all three of us heard that. We heard his footsteps crushing the broken glass. We got out through the kitchen, there was blood everywhere and bodies.”