Turkish and American intelligence officials blame the Islamic State for a deadly gun attack on Istanbul's popular Reina nightclub at 1:15 a.m. on New Year's Day, according to a U.S. official and reports in Turkish newspapers on Monday. Turkey has mounted a nationwide manhunt for the lone gunman who killed 39 people — including 25 foreigners — and Turkish security forces reportedly have determined that he is from Central Asia, Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan, and possibly from the same ISIS cell that carried out the June attack on Ataturk Airport.
The shooting at the exclusive nightclub is the latest deadly attack in Turkey, despite a high-profile crackdown by the country's increasingly authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan's government imposed a news blackout after the attack, ordering the press to report only official statements. "I don't know what to say," said Zeynep Ozman, the sister of a man wounded in the attack. "I don't want to say anything political, but this can't be accepted as the new norm. Terrorism is everywhere now, and the government has no control. Something needs to be done. There is no life left in Istanbul." The foreigners killed in the shooting or while trying to escape by jumping into the Bosphorus strait include victims from Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Belgium, France, and India.
UPDATE: ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on Monday, with its Aamaq News Agency saying the shooting was carried out "in response to the orders" of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by a "heroic soldier of the caliphate who attacked the most famous nightclub where Christians were celebrating their pagan feast."