About 35 people were killed and 40 wounded in a "terrorist" attack on a well-known nightclub in Istanbul, the Queen, Sunday night, the city's governor announced.
"About 35 of our compatriots lost their lives, including a policeman," Vash Sahin announced shortly after the attack. According to NTV television, several people rushed to the Bosphorus River to escape the shots fired by at least one assailant disguised as Santa Claus.
The attack on the Queen, an emblematic site of the Turkish metropolis on the European shore of Istanbul, came after more than a year of deadly attacks in the country.
The Reina nightclub is located a few hundred meters from the place where the official New Year celebrations took place on the banks of the Bosphorus.
Several injured were taken to the emergency department and numerous ambulances and police vehicles were sent to the scene, according to CNN-Turk.
Some witnesses said they had heard the assailants shout something in Arabic, according to the press agency Dogan, who stated that there were between 700 and 800 people in the premises at the time of the attack.
Police authorities had announced the deployment of 17,000 police throughout Istanbul as part of the New Year celebrations.
Three weeks earlier, an assault claimed by a radical Kurdish group left 44 dead, including a majority of police, in the center of Istanbul.
The Turkish metropolis has also been shaken by several attacks attributed to the Islamic State jihadist group (EI).