Israeli woman hurt in Istanbul club attack; another missing
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Israeli woman hurt in Istanbul club attack; another missing

Death toll in shooting rampage climbs to 39, including 16 foreigners; Turkish authorities in massive manhunt for terrorist

  • Turkish special force police officers and ambulances are seen at the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. (AFP PHOTO/YASIN AKGUL)
    Turkish special force police officers and ambulances are seen at the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. (AFP PHOTO/YASIN AKGUL)
  • First aid officers carry an injured woman at the site of an armed attack on January 1, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. (AFP PHOTO / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY)
    First aid officers carry an injured woman at the site of an armed attack on January 1, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. (AFP PHOTO / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY)
  • Ambulances are seen at the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. (AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL)
    Ambulances are seen at the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. (AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL)

The Foreign Ministry said Sunday an Israeli woman was hurt in a shooting attack at an Istanbul club during New Year festivities and another woman was missing, as the death toll in the rampage climbed to 39 amid an ongoing manhunt for the gunman.

One Israeli woman was moderately injured in the attack, according to Hebrew media reports. The Foreign Ministry later confirmed that another Israeli woman was unaccounted for after the Istanbul attack.

“An Israeli woman was injured and hospitalized, but her life is not in danger, while there is no news of a second Israeli woman who was in the nightclub at the time of the attack,” a ministry spokesman said.

Turkey is a top tourist destination for Israelis, with tens of thousands visiting each year.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Sunday at least 16 foreigners were among the 39 people killed in the gun attack.

Soylu said in televised comments that of 21 victims who have been identified so far, 16 are foreigners and five are Turks. Another 69 people are being treated in hospital for their wounds.

He confirmed that work was continuing to identify 18 other victims. Four of the wounded are in a serious condition, he added, including one in a very critical condition.

Confirming that the attacker was still at large, Soylu said: “The search for the terrorist continues. The police have started the necessary operations. I hope (the assailant) will be captured quickly, God willing.”

Jerusalem’s newly appointed ambassador to Turkey on Sunday condemned the terror attack.

Young people leave the scene of a shooting attack in Istanbul, early Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Halit Onur Sandal)

“I strongly condemn the latest terror attack in Istanbul; offer my heartfelt condolences. New year, old resolve: terrorism shall never win,” Eitan Na’eh tweeted.

President Reuven Rivlin also tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims and well-wishes to the injured.

The attack began at 1:15 am Sunday (2215 GMT), just after hundreds of revelers had seen in 2017 at the club in the Ortakoy district on the European side of the city.

Dogan news agency said there were two gunmen dressed in Santa Claus outfits, although this has yet to be confirmed.

Television pictures showed party-goers — including men in suits and women in cocktail dresses — emerging from the nightclub in a state of shock.

Many revelers threw themselves into the water in panic and efforts were under way to rescue them, NTV television said.

Dogan reported that some witnesses claimed the assailants were “speaking Arabic” while NTV said special force police officers were still searching the club.

There has been no claim of responsibility.

The attack evoked memories of the November 2015 carnage in Paris when Islamic State jihadists went on a gun and bombing rampage on nightspots in the French capital, killing 130 people including 90 at the Bataclan concert hall.

“The attacker — in the most brutal and merciless way — targeted innocent people who had only come here to celebrate the New Year and have fun,” Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin said at the scene on the shores of the Bosphorus..

“What happened today is a terror attack,” he said.

Turkish anti-riot police stand guard at the site of an armed attack on a nightclub on January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. (Yasin Akgul/AFP)
Turkish anti-riot police stand guard at the site of an armed attack on a nightclub on January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. (Yasin Akgul/AFP)

Turkey has been hit by a wave of attacks blamed on Kurdish militants and IS jihadists and 2016 saw more attacks than any other year in the history of the country.

On December 10, 44 people were killed in a double bombing in Istanbul after a football match hosted by top side Besiktas, an attack claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) seen as a radical offshoot of the outlawed PKK rebel group.

In June, 47 people were killed in a triple suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, with authorities blaming IS.

And in one of the most brazen strikes, an off-duty policeman assassinated Russia’s ambassador to Turkey in an Ankara art gallery less than two weeks ago.

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