Thirty five people have been killed in an armed attack in an Istanbul nightclub, the city’s governor has revealed.
The gunman, believed to have been dressed in a Santa costume, opened fire inside the Reina nightclub in Istanbul’s Ortaköy district, where hundreds were celebrating the New Year.
A further 40 people are thought to have been wounded in the attack, which has been captured in CCTV footage.
Special forces officers have stormed the building, but the location of the gunman is unknown.
Many party-goers threw themselves into the Bosphorus in panic after the attack, and had to be rescued.
Initial reports suggested that two gunmen had stormed the building, but authorities are currently understood to be searching for one killer.
Turkish news site Virgul reports that the killer was shouting in Arabic during the attack.
Footage from the scene showed at least six ambulances with flashing lights and civilians being escorted out.
Several people are believed to have jumped into the water outside the venue before being rescued by police.
Media reports said police have cordoned off the area and an operation is ongoing.
A reporter from NTV said the attack may have been carried out by a lone gunman.
The nightclub lies on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait which divides Istanbul in two.
An estimated 17,000 police officers are on duty in the city. Turkey has been heavily hit by terror attacks in 2016.
Earlier today Neslihan Dogruol, a restaurant owner in a chic Istanbul neighborhood, said she hopes for peace in 2017 following a year filled with ‘unrest and death.’
‘2016 affected everyone badly,’ she said, referring to major attacks that hit Turkey in the past year.
The restaurant, adorned with snowflakes and tiny decorative lights for the evening, will have fewer people for dinner, she said.
At a commemoration for the 45 people killed in twin bombings on December 10 in Istanbul, Murat Manoglu hoped for a better year ahead.
‘We lived through terrible days,’ he said.
Security measures were heightened in major Turkish cities. Traffic leading up to key squares in Istanbul and the capital, Ankara, have been closed.
TERROR IN TURKEY: ATTACKS IN 2016
On 10 December 2016, a car bomb exploded near the Besiktas football stadium in the Macka/Dolmabahce area of Istanbul. 44 people, mostly police officers, were killed, and over 150 injured.
On 24 November 2016, a bomb exploded near the Governor’s office in Adana. 2 people were killed and 21 injured.
On 14 October 2016, a rocket attack took place on the outskirts of Antalya towards Kemer; no casualties were reported. Separately on 14 October 2016, attacks also took place against the Turkish military in Hakkari, Diyarbakir, Van and Adiyaman resulting in 13 injuries to service personnel
On 6 October 2016, an explosion occurred near a police headquarters in the Yenibosna area on the European side of Istanbul
On 24 August 2016, a roadside bomb injured 2 Gendarmerie officers on the Antalya – Kemer road near Topcam.
On 20 August 2016, an attack on a wedding party in Gaziantep killed more than 50 people and injured around 100.
On 28 June 2016, Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul was attacked. More than 40 people were killed.
On 7 June 2016, a bomb attack in the Vezneciler area of Istanbul killed 7 police officers and 4 civilians. 36 people were injured.
On 1 May 2016, a bomb attack at the Central Police Station in Gaziantep killed two police officers and injured 23 others.
On 27 April 2016, there was a suspected suicide bomb attack at Bursa Ulu Mosque. The bomber was killed and 7 people slightly injured.
On 19 March 2016, there was a suicide bomb attack against tourists on Istiklal St in Istanbul, in which 4 tourists died and at least 36 people were injured.
On 13 March 2016, a bombing in Kizilay Square, central Ankara killed more than 30 people.
On 17 February 2016, a large bomb attack near a military barracks on Eskisehir Road in Ankara killed 28 people.
On 12 January 2016, a suicide bomb attack in Sultanahmet in Istanbul killed 10 tourists.