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2017 – An attack on a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey, during New Year's celebrations, kills at least 39 people and injures more than 60 others.

The Istanbul nightclub shooting (also known as Reina massacre in Turkey[2]) was a mass shooting incident on 1 January 2017 around 01:15 am local time, in which a terrorist shot and killed 39 people and wounded 79 others at the Reina nightclub in the Ortaköy neighbourhood of Istanbul, Turkey, where hundreds had been celebrating New Year's Day. Uzbekistan-born Abdulkadir Masharipov was arrested in Istanbul on 17 January 2017. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed credit for his actions.[3] The first hearing in the trial of Masharipov and 51 accused accomplices was held on 11 December 2017,[1] and the next hearing was held on 26 March 2018.[4]

From the 2016 northern summer, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had been under pressure and had sustained significant territorial losses due to three parallel offensives: the Turkish-Free Syrian Army Western al-Bab offensive and Battle of al-Bab, the Syrian Democratic Forces' Northern Raqqa offensive, and the Battle of Mosul in Iraq. The Turkish military intervention in Syria was the first military confrontation between ISIL and the Turkish Army, raising tensions.

Before the nightclub attack, heightened security measures had been put in place in Istanbul, with 17,000 police officers on duty,[5] following several attacks in the area,[6] including the attack on the Istanbul Atatürk Airport on 28 June 2016 which killed 48 people, and a bombing at the Vodafone Arena on 10 December 2016 which killed 46.

Attack[edit]

Istanbul nightclub shooting is located in Istanbul
Istanbul nightclub shooting
Location of the shooting in Istanbul, Turkey
Position of the attack, Reina nightclub

A Terrorist opened fire in the nightclub at approximately 01:15. He reportedly carried an AKM rifle; after killing a police officer and a bystander at the entrance he entered the club shooting, allegedly dressed up as Santa Claus.[7][8][9] The assailant reportedly spoke Arabic during the attack[10] and shouted the Arabic phrase "Allāhu akbar".[11][12][13] He reportedly fired more than 180 rounds during the seven-minute incident, using stun grenades to aid in reloading his weapon.[14] After the assault, he went into the kitchen, changed his clothes, and escaped by blending in with the crowd.[15]

At the time of the attack, about 600 people[16] were at the nightclub to celebrate the New Year.[17] 39 people were killed, including the police officer on duty at the club entrance,[12] and at least 79 others were injured.[18] A number of people jumped into the waters of the Bosphorus strait to escape the attack.[19] In the aftermath, police set up a cordon around the nightclub.[20]

Aftermath[edit]

Istanbul's governor Vasip Şahin said the incident was a terrorist attack.[21] The Turkish government ordered a temporary media blackout, citing concerns over security and public order.[6]

In response to the attack, the Turkish military carried out attacks against ISIL targets in the Syrian town of al-Bab. 22 people are claimed to have been killed in the raids.[22]

Seven Uyghur restaurant workers were arrested by police in Zeytinburnu, which became the site of over 50 police sweeps against "East Turkistanis" (Uyghurs), Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Uzbeks,[23] a number of Uyghurs were detained outside of Istanbul in Selimpaşa,[24] and altogether up to 36 people were detained in connection with the investigation in the days following the attack.[25] It has been alleged that Kyrgyzstan passports were used by several families allegedly from East Turkestan with 20 children, and 22 women and men, all of whom were among 40 arrested by Turkish security forces in İzmir's Bornova and Buca districts.[26] Weapons were found with the İzmir suspects.[27] Syrians, Uyghurs, and Dagestanis were arrested in Izmir.[28]

Perpetrator[edit]

On 9 January 2017, Turkish police identified the suspected Terrorist as an Uzbek national,[29] Abdulkadir Masharipov (Uzbek Cyrillic: Абдул-Кадир Машарипов; born 2 August 1988),[30] who also goes by the name Abu Muhammed Horasani.[31] He was arrested on 16 January at a Kyrgyz friend's apartment in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul.[32] Firearms, ammunition, two drones and about $200,000 were found in the apartment.[33]

Masharipov was 28 years old at the time of the attack and is believed to have been trained as a militant in Afghanistan and Pakistan before illegally entering Turkey through the Iranian border in January 2016.[33] Masharipov is also believed to have trained with Al Qaeda in Iraq, the group that morphed into ISIL, and had spent most of his time in Turkey in the city of Konya before arriving in Istanbul on 16 December 2016.[33][34] In an interview with police, Masharipov stated he was initially directed by ISIL to stage an attack at Taksim Square, but dropped the plan after conducting surveillance of the area and concluding there was too much security. Afterward, Masharipov passed the Reina and decided it would be a good target to attack due to a lack of security.[34]

In September 2020, a Turkish court sentenced ISIL militant Abdulkadir Masharipov to life imprisonment, plus an additional 1,368 years in prison, for killing 39 people and injuring 79 more at an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's in 2017.[35] In his last testimony, he requested that he be exonerated, saying his original statements were under "torture and pressure". He said there was inadequate evidence against him. It is anticipated he will appeal the verdict.[36]

On 10 December 2021, another suspect linked to the 2017 attack was detained in police custody in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.[37]

Victims

Among the victims were people from 14 countries,[38] including Bollywood film producer Abis Rizvi, producer of the 2014 film Roar: Tigers of the Sundarbans

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