Everything we know so far about the Istanbul nightclub massacre

Updated: 

Turkish police are hunting for a gunman who opened fire at a crowded Istanbul nightclub during new year celebrations, killing at least 39 people and wounding nearly 70 others in what authorities said was a terror attack.

What actually happened?

Medics carry a wounded person
(AP)

The attacker, reportedly dressed as Santa Claus and armed with a long-barrelled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian outside the popular Reina club at around 1.15am before entering and firing on people partying inside, governor Vasip Sahin said. He did not say who may have carried out the attack.

About 600 people were celebrating inside the club that is often frequented by famous locals, including singers, actors and sports stars.

The private NTV news channel said that some customers jumped into the waters of the Bosporus to escape the attack.

Police with riot gear and machine guns backed up by armoured vehicles blocked the area close to the club, one of the most popular nightspots in Istanbul.

Do we know who the attacker is?

Turkish police officers block the road
(Halit Onur Sandal/AP)

Interior minister Suleyman Soylu said the attacker, who has not been identified, is still at large, adding: "Our security forces have started the necessary operations. God willing he will be caught in a short period of time."

NTV news channel said the assailant entered the up-scale nightclub, on the European side of the Bosporus waterway, dressed in a Santa Claus outfit. The minister said the attacker is believed to have carried out the assault alone and left the club wearing different clothing.

How many people have been killed?

Young people leave from the scene of an attack in Istanbul
(Halit Onur Sandal/AP)

At least 39 people have been killed and 70 wounded - 15 of the dead were foreign nationals, Soylu said, without giving information on their nationalities.

Five of the victims were identified as Turkish nationals while authorities were still trying to identify the rest.

Four of the people being treated in hospital are in serious condition, Soylu added.

Three or four of the Turkish victims may have been employees at the nightclub, he said.