Istanbul nightclub attack: U.S. rejects having prior information
Ankara [Turkey], Jan. 2 (ANI): The United States embassy in Turkey has denied media reports that it had prior information about threats to specific entertainment venues, including the Reina Club, where at least 39 people were killed after an attacker opened fire on partygoers at the venue in Istanbul's Ortakoy district in the early hours of New Year's Day.
?"Contrary to to rumors circulating in social media, the U.S. Government had no information about threats to specific entertainment venues, including the Reina Club, and ?the U.S. Government did not warn Americans to stay away from specific venues or neighborhoods," the embassy said in a statement.
"U.S. and Turkish agencies consult closely in combating terrorism, including by sharing information on suspected terrorist threats.This cooperation will continue as we confront the shared threat of terrorism," the statement added.
A local media had quoted Mehmet Kocarslan, owner of the attacked Reina club, as saying that the U.S. intelligence had warned about the planned terrorist attack.
Governor Vasip Sahin described the attack in Ortakoy, Besiktas, as "cruel" and an "act of terror", reports Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu.
"At 1.15 a.m., a terrorist carrying a long-barreled weapon martyred the police officer waiting outside, and then martyred another citizen to enter the club. He then carried out this violent and cruel act by spraying bullets on innocent people who were celebrating the New Year," Sahin said.
The investigation is underway and the governor's office would provide further updates, he added.
The attack comes three weeks after twin bombings in Istanbul killed at least 45 people, mostly police officers. (ANI)