UPDATED: ISIS has claimed responsibility for the terror attack that killed 39 people and injured 69 in a prominent Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Eve. The victims included 49-year-old Bollywood producer Abis Rizvi.
“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,” said ISIS in a statement on Monday.
A manhunt is still underway. The assailant’s identity has not yet been revealed by Turkish authorities, although footage of his entrance into the Reina nightclub has emerged.
The gunman, who is believed to have perpetrated the raid single-handedly, stormed into the Reina nightclub, which is located on the banks of the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul’s upscale Ortakoy district, just after 1 a.m and sprayed bullets into the crowd. An estimated 600 people were inside the nightclub, according to media reports.
At least 25 of the victims were foreign. Among them were people from Israel, Russia, France, Tunisia, Lebanon, India, Belgium, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, according to news reports. Among the 69 wounded, three are in critical conditions.
The raid is just the latest in a series of terror attacks in recent months in Turkey by either the Islamic State (IS) or Kurdish militants. 2016 nearly begun with a suicide bomber killing 10 in Sultanahmet Square, Istanbul. Attributed to IS militants, a gun and bomb attack on Ataturk airport in Istanbul killed 41 on June 28.
Rizvi’s death prompted outrage and tributes from Bollywood players. The son of a real estate magnate, Rizvi was producer and co-writer of the 2014 film “Roar: Tigers of the Sundarbans.” His Abis Rizvi Productions was revving up a host of projects, including a coming-of-age film “T for Taj Mahal,” which is expected to be released in March, according to the U.K.’s Telegraph.
Shocked by the news of losing one of my long time & dearest friend, Abis Rizvi, in the shootout in Istanbul. Will miss you my friend. RIP pic.twitter.com/KFhHjx6Xci
— Madhur Bhandarkar (@imbhandarkar) January 1, 2017