Europe

Reports: IS believed to be behind Istanbul nightclub attack

  • Flowers of the victims of the attack are placed outside a nightclub, which was attacked by a gunman overnight, in Istanbul, on New Year's Day, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. An assailant believed to have been dressed in a Santa Claus costume and armed with a long-barrelled weapon, opened fire at the nightclub in Istanbul's Ortakoy district during New Year's celebrations, killing dozens of people and wounding dozens of others in what the province's governor described as a terror attack. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

    Flowers of the victims of the attack are placed outside a nightclub, which was attacked by a gunman overnight, in Istanbul, on New Year's Day, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. An assailant believed to have been dressed in a Santa Claus costume and armed with a long-barrelled weapon, opened fire at the nightclub in Istanbul's Ortakoy district during New Year's celebrations, killing dozens of people and wounding dozens of others in what the province's governor described as a terror attack. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)  (The Associated Press)

  • This image taken from CCTV provided by Haberturk Newspaper Sunday Jan. 1, 2017 shows the attacker, armed with a long-barrelled weapon, shooting his way into the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey on Sunday morning. The assailant opened fire at the nightclub in Istanbul's Ortakoy district during New Year's celebrations, killing dozens of people and wounding dozens of others in what the province's governor described as a terror attack. (CCTV/Haberturk Newspaper via AP)

    This image taken from CCTV provided by Haberturk Newspaper Sunday Jan. 1, 2017 shows the attacker, armed with a long-barrelled weapon, shooting his way into the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey on Sunday morning. The assailant opened fire at the nightclub in Istanbul's Ortakoy district during New Year's celebrations, killing dozens of people and wounding dozens of others in what the province's governor described as a terror attack. (CCTV/Haberturk Newspaper via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Family members and friends mourn as they attend funeral prayers for Ayhan Akin, one of the nightclub victims, in Istanbul, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. An assailant believed to have been dressed in a Santa Claus costume and armed with a long-barrelled weapon, opened fire at a nightclub in Istanbul's Ortakoy district during New Year's celebrations, killing dozens of people and wounding dozens of others in what the province's governor described as a terror attack. (AP Photo)

    Family members and friends mourn as they attend funeral prayers for Ayhan Akin, one of the nightclub victims, in Istanbul, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. An assailant believed to have been dressed in a Santa Claus costume and armed with a long-barrelled weapon, opened fire at a nightclub in Istanbul's Ortakoy district during New Year's celebrations, killing dozens of people and wounding dozens of others in what the province's governor described as a terror attack. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Turkish media reports say that authorities believe that the Islamic State group is behind the attack on a popular Istanbul nightclub during New Year's celebrations.

Hurriyet and Karar newspaper reports Monday cited unnamed security officials saying that authorities have determined that the gunman who killed 39 people comes from a Central Asian nation and is believed to be either from Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan.

Police had also established similarities with the high-casualty attack at Ataturk Airport in June and was investigating whether the same IS cell carried out both attacks.

The gunman, who is still at large, killed a policeman and another man outside the Reina club in the early hours of 2017 before firing at people partying inside.

Nearly two-thirds of the dead were foreigners, many from the Middle East.