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Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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New Year's Attack on Istanbul Kills 39, Injures Over 70

Nightclub attack in Istanbul,Turkey

(Photo : Getty Images) Relatives and friends of Fatih Cakmak, a security guard and a victim of an attack by a gunman at Reina nightclub, mourn during his funeral on, Jan. 2, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. Islamic State claimed responsibility for a New Year's Day mass shooting in a packed Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people, an attack carried out by a lone gunman who remains at large.

As hundreds of revelers are celebrating the arrival of the New Year at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, a lone gunman stormed and started a shooting spree after firing at security guards at the entrance, leaving 39 dead and 70 others wounded.

More than half of those killed were foreigners and at least three are in critical condition, Binali Yildrim, Turkey's prime minister, said on Sunday. Among the victims were citizens from Israel, France, Tunisia, Lebanon, India, Belgium, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

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A 35-year-old businessman from Delaware, USA, named William Jacob Raak was also reported to be among the injured. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also confirmed that a Canadian died in the attack.

The gunman's identity and motives are still not known, but one of the witnesses said he heard the assailant shouting "God is great" in Arabic.

The search for the gunman is ongoing, while the first funeral of the victims at the nightclub were held.

BBC reported that Istanbul was already on high alert with some 17,000 police officers on duty in the city, following a string of terror attacks in recent months.

The New Year's attack in Reina, which is one of the most famous nightclub in Istanbul that sits on the banks of the Bosphorus, is pointed out by the government of Turkey as a terrorist attack.

Abdullah Agar, a security analyst, described the attack as being "very attentively" selected.

As to the unidentified gunman, Agar described him as a "very very cold-blooded" terrorist more adept at close attacks than those trained in the military. He also noted that the ammunition used is also very qualified that it cannot be easily obtained by anyone.

He cited the Islamic State as a possible mastermind behind the New Year's attack, which targeted civilians in the past.

"The target and the timing which coincided with New Year celebrations is very important. The attack's symbolic meaning is very important," the analyst remarked. 

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