On New Year’s Eve, an ISIS gunman stormed into a nightclub in Istanbul, killing 39 and injuring at least another 70 others. As he committed the atrocious act of terror, he reportedly donned a Santa Claus outfit, including a Santa hat which could clearly be seen on the Reina club’s security tapes. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the massacre, but the shooter is still on the run.
Authorities believe that the attacker changed clothes from his initial shooting outside in which he shot and killed one policeman and a civilian. On surveillance footage, the terror suspect is seen all in black as he fires a long rifle outside the club before forcing his way in.
The gunman is later seen inside the nightclub where he unleashed seven minutes of horror and can be seen on surveillance wearing a full Santa Claus costume.
The crowd inside the club was made up of approximately 600 people. Witnesses say that people everywhere were crying as the smell of gunpowder filled the room. Some of the party goers jumped into the Bosphorus River that runs adjacent to the club in a desperate attempt to escape the gunfire. More than two dozen foreigners were killed and one American was among the injured.
Just before the holidays, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey issued a warning to Westerners that ISIS was planning on attacking Christmas and New Years Eve celebrations and to stay away from large crowds.
The statement read:
“US Mission Turkey reminds US citizens that extremist groups are continuing aggressive efforts to conduct attacks throughout Turkey in areas where US citizens and expatriates reside or frequent.
As we approach the end of 2016, US citizens should be mindful of this when deciding to attend public gatherings for holiday and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
US citizens are encouraged to review the Europe Travel Alert and reminded to be aware of their immediate surroundings.”