A New Year’s Eve party at a trendy Istanbul nightclub ended in tragedy on Sunday evening when a pair of gunmen – all dressed up as Santa Claus – stormed the premises and began spraying bullets at the partygoers.
Initial reports revealed that at least 35 Turkish citizens had been killed in the attack, including a police officer. Dozens more were injured, with at least forty people transferred to nearby hospitals for medical care.
A number of panicked revelers jumped into the Bosphorus when the hail of bullets first rang out, prompting rescuers to search the waters for survivors. An estimated 700 people were celebrating at the exclusive club when the chaos began.
Although the details surrounding the attack are still somewhat unclear, some witnesses have said that the two attackers were speaking in Arabic as they carried out the rampage.
The United States has offered aid to Turkey in the aftermath of the tragedy, with White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price offering thoughts and prayers on behalf of the U.S. for the relatives of those who were killed.
Price also expressed the U.S.’s support for Turkey, a NATO ally, in the continued fight against terrorism that has unfortunately resulted in atrocities like Sunday’s bloodbath.