ISTANBUL, Turkey, Jan. 1 (UPI) — Turkish authorities are combing Istanbul for the man who killed 39 people inside a popular nightclub on New Year’s Eve. He remains at large.
“There is an intelligence that he tried to get out with a different outfit,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters. “The evaluation of intelligence by police is ongoing. Works to apprehend the attacker by police units are also ongoing.”
Initial reports suggested 35 people had been killed, but the death toll rose to 39. So far, twenty of the victims have been identified. Another 70 people were injured in the attack.
Soylu called the terror attack a “massacre.”
At least 15 of the dead are foreign nationals. According to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, the victims included citizens of Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Lebanon and Libya. One Israeli woman, 19-year-old Leanne Nasser, was also killed. Five of the victims are Turkish citizens.
According to multiple reports, Turkish security forces had been tipped off to the possibility of a terror attack by U.S. intelligence. But the U.S. Embassy released a statement denying it had knowledge of any specific plots.
“The U.S. government did not warn Americans to stay away from specific venues or neighborhoods,” the statement said.