Islamic State claims New Years attack on Istanbul nightclub

first_imgISTANBUL — The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Monday for a mass shooting at an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people, most of them foreign tourists from Muslim countries who were ringing in the new year. It was the first claim of its kind for IS in Turkey.The group said Christian revelers were targeted in response to Turkish military operations against IS in northern Syria. The claim came after an IS propaganda video urging attacks on Turkey, which is home to an airbase used in the U.S.-led effort against IS in Syria and Iraq.Turkish authorities never confirmed the authenticity of the Dec. 22 video that purported to show Turkish soldiers who were burned alive, but access to social media was temporarily restricted in what appeared to be an effort to curb its circulation.The nightclub assailant, armed with a long-barreled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian early Sunday outside the Reina club before entering and firing at some of the estimated 600 people inside. The establishment is frequented by famous locals, including singers, actors and athletes.The Islamic State group boasts of having cells in Turkey, regularly issues propaganda in Turkish and is believed to have hundreds of Turks in its ranks. But until now, the main act of aggression it had claimed in Turkey was the March 2016 killing of a Syrian journalist and an attack on riot police in the province of Diyarbakir, which Kurdish militants also claimed.last_img

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