ISIL claims responsibility for Istanbul New Year attack
By Zhang Ruijun

2017-01-02 22:51 GMT+8

ISIL has claimed responsibility for a gun attack on an Istanbul nightclub which killed 39 people on Sunday. There was no immediate reaction from Turkish officials. 
The lone gunman who carried out the attack remains at large. Police distributed a hazy black-and-white photo of the alleged gunman taken from security footage. State broadcaster TRT Haber said eight people had been detained in Istanbul. 
Turkish authorities believe the attacker may be from a Central Asian nation and suspect he had links to ISIL, the Hurriyet newspaper said. It said he may be from the same cell responsible for a gun-and-bomb attack on Istanbul's main airport in June, in which 45 people were killed and hundreds wounded. 
Relatives at the funeral of Busra Kose, a victim of an attack by a gunman at Reina nightclub, in Istanbul, Turkey, January 2, 2017. /CFP Photo 
In an online statement on Monday, ISIL said: "The apostate Turkish government should know that the blood of Muslims shed with airplanes and artillery fire will, with God's permission, ignite a fire in their own land. 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." 
Flowers are placed in front of a police barrier near the entrance of Reina nightclub by the Bosphorus, which was attacked by a gunman, in Istanbul, Turkey, January 1, 2017. /CFP Photo 
As over 600 revelers were celebrating the arrival of the year 2017 at Reina nightclub in central Istanbul, a gunman stormed in and started shooting at random after firing at a police officer and a civilian at the entrance at about 1:15 a.m. Sunday (22:15 GMT Saturday). 
Nationals from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Lebanon, Libya, Israel, India, a Turkish-Belgian dual citizen and a Franco-Tunisian woman were among those killed at the exclusive nightclub on the shores of the Bosphorus. Twenty-five of the dead were foreigners, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency. The attack also left 69 others injured, with four in critical condition.  
( With inputs from Xinhua News Agency and Reuters)