Istanbul, Turkey (BBN) – So-called Islamic State says it was behind the New Year attack on a Turkish nightclub that killed 39 people.
The group said in a statement it was carried out by “a heroic soldier”, reports BBC.
At least 600 revellers were celebrating in the early hours of Sunday at Istanbul’s Reina nightclub when the gunman began firing indiscriminately.
IS has been blamed for recent attacks in Turkey, which is taking military action against the group in neighbouring Syria.
The militant group has already been linked to at least two attacks in Turkey last year.
More details of the nightclub attack have been emerging.
The gunman fired up to 180 bullets, Turkish media report.
The assailant arrived by taxi before rushing through the entrance with a long-barrelled gun he had taken from the boot of the car.
The attacker fired indiscriminately at people, starting with a security guard and a travel agent near the entrance.
Both were killed.
The assault lasted seven minutes and the gunman is reported to have removed his overcoat before fleeing during the chaos.
A manhunt is under way, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu confirmed.
“We hope the attacker will be captured soon.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused groups such as IS of trying “to create chaos”.
“They are trying to… demoralise our people and destabilise our country,” he added.
The banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has distanced itself from the killings, with the PKK’s Murat Karayilan quoted as saying it would “never target innocent civilians”.
As the search continued, the first funerals were held on Sunday.
At least 25 of those killed were foreign, according to local media, among them citizens from Israel, Russia, France, Tunisia, Lebanon, India, Belgium, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.