Saturday, December 31, 2016

Massive New Year's Eve terror attack in Istanbul, Turkey.

Revelers flee from the scene as ambulances come to pick up the wounded. AFP/NBC.

A massive New Year's Eve terror attack has killed at least 35 people and wounded even more in Istanbul, Turkey. NBC News. The attack occurred at a popular nightclub called Reina in Turkey's most famous city. The attacker killed a cop guarding the venue and a civilian before entering the club and opening fire. It is unclear what has happened to the gunman or gunmen in the attack with conflicting reports saying the gunman is dead while other sources say he escaped. More then 500 people were in the club when the attack occurred. 

The Guardian has a live update feed that can be found here.
My Comment:
There hasn't been much of an update on this attack for quite some time. I have heard rumors that the death total is more then 100 people, but I haven't been able to confirm that. What I have been able to confirm, through multiple sources, that the attacker was wearing a Santa Claus costume. As crazy as that sounds, it has been confirmed through other sources. The NBC article said that Turkish police had dressed as Santa as well, so I am guessing this was either one of those cops that did it or a terrorist using the costume to look like a cop. I guess it could be some kind of sick joke or some kind of meta level commentary by ISIS as well, but I find that hard to believe. Still, anything could happen. 

As for suspects, my immediate thought is ISIS. This attack was very similar to the ones in Paris and Orlando. In Paris, the shooting at the Bataclan theater looked quite a bit like this, though in that attack there were more terrorists. The shooting at the Pulse nightclub is an even better match. Though it is very possible that this was done by some other group, possibly the Kurds, but that seems very unlikely considering how much the attack matches the other recent ISIS attacks. 

Turkey has had a terrible time with terror attacks this year and it is not surprising that the trend is continuing. ISIS has greatly stepped up their attacks there and the Kurdish insurgency has been responsible for some attacks as well. ISIS has killed hundreds in Turkey this past year and I would not be surprised if this attack was continuing that trend. Whoever is responsible for it should be brought to justice.

I've always though that New Years Eve celebrations were a major and obvious target for terrorist attacks. It's a night when everyone drinks and are not suspecting a terrorist attack. People are close together and crowded and have little defense against someone with a weapon. As this attack shows, it doesn't seem that hard to get a double digit death count attacking on New Years Eve... 

 The only disadvantage is that security is usually a lot stronger then it would be otherwise. It seems like this was even the case in Turkey, though it didn't help them much. A single cop standing outside of a venue isn't much for security. Indeed, it seems like an invitation to have what happened here happen. The cop died first and there didn't seem to be anyone left to help the civilians. A defense in depth would have been better.

Though this will be posted in 2016, the terror attack itself occurred in 2017. The attack occurred around 2:00 AM local time. This attack will go down as the first attack in 2017 and it already looks like it is at least as bad as the Brussels attack this year. It's probably going to be much worse then that. Those of us hoping for less attacks in 2017 are going to be disappointed. 

The media hasn't been covering this story very well. Part of that is because New Years Eve is a holiday for the press as well. Many of them are busy covering New Years Eve or are out celebrating themselves. My guess is that there will be more information released in the morning, but it is still disappointing that there isn't more information out there. If more information becomes available in the morning I may have a follow up post, but for now, I just don't have much else to add. 

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