Istanbul shooter still at large a day after killing 39
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Istanbul shooter still at large a day after killing 39

Turkish PM denies report shooter in ‘heinous’ Istanbul attack dressed as Santa as police hunt for suspect, release photos

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Turkish anti riot police officers in front of the Reina night club, one of Istanbul's most exclusive party spots, early on January 1, 2017 after at least one gunmen went on a shooting rampage in the nightclub during New Year's Eve celebrations.  (AFP/YASIN AKGUL)
Turkish anti riot police officers in front of the Reina night club, one of Istanbul's most exclusive party spots, early on January 1, 2017 after at least one gunmen went on a shooting rampage in the nightclub during New Year's Eve celebrations. (AFP/YASIN AKGUL)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as they unfolded.

Arab visitors among victims of Istanbul nightclub attack

The victims of the attack on revelers celebrating New Year at an Istanbul nightclub include citizens of several Arab countries, a Turkish cabinet minister said on Sunday.

“There are foreigners and Turks but the majority are foreigners. From different countries — Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Lebanon, Libya,” said Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, quoted by the Anadolu news agency. Authorities have said 39 people were killed, including at least 15 foreigners, and 65 wounded.

A 19-year-old Israeli Arab woman was killed and another Israeli woman injured in the attack.

— AFP and Times of Israel

‘No connection to religion,’ father of Israeli injured in Istanbul says

Sufyan Mansour, father of the Israeli woman injured in the Istanbul attack, tells Army Radio that “after my girl heard the gunshots she dropped to the floor and tried to leave, and then she was hit by two bullets.”

Speaking about Islam, he says that “it’s not written that it’s permitted to kill and take lives of innocent people. There’s no connection to religion.”

Zahar Nasser, father of Lian Nasser, who was killed in Istanbul, tells Walla news that her family warned her against traveling to Turkey because of the situation in the country. “She insisted because her friends were going. She managed to send us pictures and tell us she was cold,” he says.

New UN chief calls for ‘peace first’ in 2017

The new United Nations chief Antonio Guterres says he would like to make 2017 a year to “put peace first,” in a message heralding the new year and marking his first day as the world body’s chief.

The Portuguese former prime minister, 67, took over as UN secretary-general from South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon, inheriting complex crises in Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, Burundi, North Korea and elsewhere.

“How can we help the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massively in wars with no end in sight?” Guterres says.

Newly appointed United Nations general secretary Antonio Guterres arrives to speak to the press in Lisbon, on October 6, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / JOSE MANUEL RIBEIRO)

Newly appointed United Nations general secretary Antonio Guterres arrives to speak to the press in Lisbon, on October 6, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / JOSE MANUEL RIBEIRO)

“Civilians are pounded with deadly force. Women, children and men are killed and injured, forced from their homes, dispossessed and destitute.

“No one wins these wars; everyone loses.”

Ushering in 2017, Guterres asked the world to make “one shared New Year’s resolution: Let us resolve to put peace first.

“Let us make 2017 a year in which we all — citizens, governments, leaders — strive to overcome our differences.”

The unanimous election of Guterres — who fought for migrants’ rights as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for a decade — has energized UN diplomats who see him as a skilled politician who may be able to overcome the divisions crippling the international organization.

“Peace must be our goal and our guide,” he said. “All that we strive for as a human family — dignity and hope, progress and prosperity — depends on peace.”

“But peace depends on us.”


Gunmen attack Bahrain jail, kill cop

Armed men attack a prison in Bahrain where Shiites convicted over anti-government protests are held, killing one policeman and allowing inmates to escape, the interior ministry said.

The security forces launched a manhunt for the attackers and the escaped prisoners, the ministry says on Twitter.

The attack took place at Jaw prison south of the capital Manama, it said, but did not give more details on the number of attackers or escapees.

The tiny but strategic Gulf state has been rocked by unrest since its Sunni authorities crushed Shiite-led protests in 2011 demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.

Hundreds of Shiites have been arrested and many have faced trials over their role in the demonstrations.

Police on Sunday set up or reinforced roadblocks near Shiite villages outside the capital, witnesses said.

Despite the crackdown, Shiite protesters have frequently clashed with security forces in these villages.

In June, 17 prisoners broke out of Al-Hadd jail east of Manama, but the authorities recaptured 11 of them the next day.

Bahrain, which is connected to Saudi Arabia by a causeway, lies across the Gulf from Shiite Iran and is home to the US Fifth Fleet.


IDF said to fire on Palestinian shepherds in Gaza

Palestinian media outlets report that Israeli troops fired on shepherds near the border of Israel and the Gaza Strip.

No injuries are reported.

PM fears Security Council action against Israel in January

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells the cabinet that he’s concerned about additional diplomatic action against Israel at the UN Security Council on January 17, Channel 10 reports.

“We’re in an event that still hasn’t ended,” he tells ministers.

Turkish PM denies ‘Santa’ shooter report

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim denies reports that the gunman who shot up an Istanbul night club was dressed as Santa, and says the shooter left the weapon at the scene and remained at large, Turkish media says.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim speaks to the press on January 1, 2017. (screen capture: YouTube/ TRT World)

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim speaks to the press on January 1, 2017. (screen capture: YouTube/ TRT World)


Unclear who’s behind Istanbul attack: Turkey PM

Yildirim gave no indication of who was responsible for the attack, but mentioned Turkey’s fight against Kurdish terror groups, the Islamic State and the Fethullah Gulen group, which officials blamed for a failed attempted coup earlier this year.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the nightclub attack, which left at least 39 dead and over 60 wounded.


Likud MK proposes bill to bar investigating PM

Likud MK David Amsalem says he will propose a bill that will include measures to forbid investigation of a seated prime minister. “They’ve raised an army to oust the prime minister,” the lawmaker says on Twitter, referring to police investigations into suspected crimes.

IDF declassifies Six Day War documents ahead of 50th anniversary

The IDF is releasing documents from its archive relating to the 1967 Six Day War ahead of the conflict’s 50th anniversary in June.

Among the declassified files are the IDF chief rabbi’s account of the liberation of the Western Wall, Israel Radio reports, and Rabbi Shlomo Goren’s conversation with field commanders who rushed him to the front lines to be among the first at the Temple Mount.

Netanyahu may be questioned by police this week

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be questioned by police this week as part of an investigation into suspicions of criminal malfeasance, Channel 2 reports.

One dead in Jerusalem house fire

One person is dead and multiple are injured in a house fire on Hebron Road in Jerusalem. The circumstances of the fire are unclear and firefighters are battling the blaze.

Five dead in apartment fire

Five people are dead in the Jerusalem apartment fire, Channel 2 reports.

Fire claims five in suspected suicide

The five killed in a Jerusalem apartment fire are identified in preliminary reports as a 30-year-old woman, two 12-year-old girls, a seven-year-old girl and a two-year-old infant. Initial reports indicate the fire may have been a murder-suicide.

Police block off Hebron Road after murder-suicide

Rescue services were forced to break in the door of the fifth floor Jerusalem apartment that caught fire, where they found a 36-year-old mother who was found dead with her four children in an apparent murder-suicide.

The woman hanged herself after setting the house on fire.

Police have blocked off the major thoroughfare to traffic in both directions.

Israeli killed in Istanbul to be flown back by ZAKA

ZAKA offers to help fly body of the 19-year-old Israeli woman killed in Istanbul.

Lian Hassan didn’t have travel insurance, and the organization offers to “help with the repatriation at various different levels, including finances, logistics, providing transportation of the body in a ZAKA ambulance,” the group says in a statement.

Israeli at Istanbul club says shooter shouted ‘Allahu akbar’

Ala’a Abdulahi, an Israeli who was at Istanbul’s Reina nightclub, tells Channel 2 that the gunman “shouted Allahu akbar” as he opened fire. She tells Channel 2 there was “complete chaos” in the club, and that she was lucky to escape with her life.

New Istanbul shooting footage

New images from the deadly shooting at an Istanbul nightclub, whose victims include two Israeli citizens — one killed and one wounded — have emerged. The shooter, who has yet to be identified, can be seen shooting his way into the Reina club on New Year’s Eve.

Israel to bury, not return, Hamas terrorists’ remains

The cabinet agrees that Hamas terrorists killed attempting to carry out terror attacks will not be returned to their families, but will be buried.

The ministers also discussed ways to secure the return of Israeli soldiers and civilians held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip and unanimously approved a plan to advance the issue.

What that plan is wasn’t disclosed in the Prime Minister’s Office statement.

24-year-old moderately hurt in Rehovot stabbing

A 24-year-old man was stabbed in his Rehovot home and suffered moderate injuries. Magen David Adom paramedics took him to Kaplan medical center in Rehovot. The circumstances of the incident aren’t immediately clear, Israel Radio reports.

Family in suspected murder-suicide never received social services

The woman who burned her family alive in an apartment fire on Jerusalem’s Hebron Road never received social services from the municipality, Jerusalem City Hall says in a statement.

Three months ago, the mother called her neighborhood social services for information about getting a babysitter, the city says. The mother was told that social services doesn’t provide a babysitter, but invited her to drop by to learn about other services she could receive if needed. She didn’t call back.

Yaakov Neeman, former justice minister, dies

Former justice minister Yaakov Neeman is dead at the age of 77.

He served as justice minister under two Netanyahu governments, in 1996 and from 2009-2013, and also as finance minister from 1997-1998.

PMO offers condolences for Neeman

The Prime Minister’s Office issues a statement of condolences, saying Neeman was one of the “top jurists in the country, of sharp wit and warm Jewish heart.”

Herzog mourns ‘close friend,’ colleague Neeman

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, who worked at the same law office as former justice minister Yaakov Neeman, calls him “a teacher and close friend for decades. A big-hearted and broad-minded man.”

Rivlin praises Neeman as ‘expert jurist’

President Reuven Rivlin says he spoke just last week with Neeman, asking him for his advice. He describes him as “an expert jurist. But also outside the realm of law, he was constantly involved in communal work.”

Istanbul killer still at large

The perpetrator of the shooting at an Istanbul nightclub is still at large after a daylong manhunt for the killer of 39, and photos of a potential suspect appear to be false.

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