Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu spoke of one attacker, who was still at large, according to Dogan news agency. However, an earlier Dogan report and one witness spoke of two men opening fire in the club.
Among the dead were at least 15 foreign nationals, the Turkish Interior Ministry said. A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed that a young Israeli woman had been killed. The state-run Anadolu agency reported that other victims were from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Lebanon and Libya.
Over 60 people were injured in the attack. The city’s governor, Vasip Sahin, described the shooting as a terrorist attack. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the massacre.
Sahin said the attack began at 1:15am on Sunday (2215 GMT Saturday), when the attacker forced his way into the club by shooting dead a police officer and a civilian at the entrance.
The attack ended when special forces stormed the club.
Like other cities across the globe, Istanbul had ramped up security in preparation for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Turkey has suffered a string of attacks over the past year, including a double suicide bombing at an Istanbul football stadium three weeks ago which killed more than 40.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to allow terrorists to unleash “chaos” in Turkey following the latest bloodshed.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu slammed the government’s counterterrorism measures as misguided.