Israeli Teenager, 19, Killed In Istanbul Nightclub Attack

An Israeli teenager was killed in the shooting attack at an Istanbul club during New Year festivities.

The victim, who earlier was reported missing, was identified Sunday as 19-year-old Lian Zaher Nasser from the Arab Israeli city of Tira, according to Hebrew media reports.

Thirty-nine people, including many foreigners, were killed Sunday when a gunman went on a rampage at the exclusive Reina nightclub in Istanbul where revelers were celebrating the New Year.

“We lost all contact with my daughter and we still don’t know where she is,” Nasser’s father Zaher said earlier on Sunday, according to the Ynet news website. “We are very scared something happened to her and we are requesting and pleading for anyone with knowledge of her whereabouts to inform us.”

Earlier Sunday, the Foreign Ministry confirmed that an Israeli woman was unaccounted for, but did not report her name.

It also confirmed that an Israeli woman, Ro’a Mansour, was hurt in the shooting attack, with Hebrew media reports earlier Sunday saying the woman was in moderate condition.

Sufjan Mansour, the father of the injured woman, 18, told the Haaretz daily Sunday morning that after hearing of the attack he was unable to get in touch with his daughter, “but at six in the morning she answered [her phone] and said that she had been injured from gunfire in her lower body, and that she had been operated on and is now in the hospital in stable condition.”

Nasser and the injured woman were together at the club along with two other Israeli women, whom Haaretz named as Ella Tariq Abd al-Hay, 27, and Ayia Ihsan Abd al-Hay, all from the city of Tira in central Israel.

One of the two women spoke with Channel 2 following the attack, telling the TV station: “I did not see what happened, but I heard the gunshots. We were very close.”

“I hid in the kitchen with a few people” and “we remained [there], silent for a long time,” she said.

The travel agent who arranged the four Israelis’ trip told Channel 2 that she “is on her way to the hospital to check the situation of the women and see if the missing woman is at the hospital.”

Turkey is a top tourist destination for Israelis, with tens of thousands visiting each year.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Sunday at least 16 foreigners were among the 39 people killed in the gun attack.

Soylu said in televised comments that of 21 victims who have been identified so far, 16 are foreigners and five are Turks. Another 69 people are being treated in hospital for their wounds.

He confirmed that work was continuing to identify 18 other victims. Four of the wounded are in a serious condition, he added, including one in a very critical condition.

Confirming that the attacker was still at large, Soylu said: “The search for the terrorist continues. The police have started the necessary operations. I hope (the assailant) will be captured quickly, God willing.”

Jerusalem’s newly appointed ambassador to Turkey on Sunday condemned the terror attack.

“I strongly condemn the latest terror attack in Istanbul; offer my heartfelt condolences. New year, old resolve: terrorism shall never win,” Eitan Na’eh tweeted.

President Reuven Rivlin also tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims and well-wishes to the injured.

The attack began at 1:15 am Sunday (2215 GMT), just after hundreds of revelers had seen in 2017 at the club in the Ortakoy district on the European side of the city.

Dogan news agency said there were two gunmen dressed in Santa Claus outfits, although this has yet to be confirmed.

Television pictures showed party-goers — including men in suits and women in cocktail dresses — emerging from the nightclub in a state of shock.

Dogan reported that some witnesses claimed the assailants were “speaking Arabic” while NTV said special force police officers were still searching the club.

There has been no claim of responsibility.

The attack evoked memories of the November 2015 carnage in Paris when Islamic State jihadists went on a gun and bombing rampage on nightspots in the French capital, killing 130 people including 90 at the Bataclan concert hall.

“The attacker — in the most brutal and merciless way — targeted innocent people who had only come here to celebrate the New Year and have fun,” Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin said at the scene on the shores of the Bosphorus..

“What happened today is a terror attack,” he said.

Turkey has been hit by a wave of attacks blamed on Kurdish militants and IS jihadists and 2016 saw more attacks than any other year in the history of the country.

On December 10, 44 people were killed in a double bombing in Istanbul after a football match hosted by top side Besiktas, an attack claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) seen as a radical offshoot of the outlawed PKK rebel group.

In June, 47 people were killed in a triple suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, with authorities blaming IS.

And in one of the most brazen strikes, an off-duty policeman assassinated Russia’s ambassador to Turkey in an Ankara art gallery less than two weeks ago.

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