Turkey strikes 100 ISIS targets after Istanbul attack

TURKEY has bombed and fired at more than 100 Isis targets in Syria immediately after the nightclub attack in Istanbul.

The country's Chief of General Staff's office, cited by the state-owned Anadolu Agency, said Turkish jets struck eight Isis targets and that tanks and artillery opened fired on 103 targets near the al-Bab stronghold.

The retaliation, an immediate response to a gunman's killing of at least 39 people at the Reina bar on the banks of the Bosphorus, has reportedly killed 22 people.

Russian jets have also attacked Isis targets in Dayr Kak which lies around five miles southwest of al-Bab.

Isis claimed responsibility for the attack on Monday morning.

Anti-terrorism squads meanwhile have arrested eight people now being questioned at Istanbul's police headquarters.

A manhunt however is still under way for the gunman, who is believed to be from either Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan, who fired an automatic rifle and detonated hand grenades.

A statement from Isis reads: "In continuation of the blessed operations that Islamic State is conducting against the protector of the cross, Turkey, a heroic soldier of the caliphate struck one of the most famous nightclubs where the Christians celebrate their apostate holiday."
 

It also said the man opened fire with an automatic rifle, believed to be a kalashnikov, in "revenge for God's religion and in response to the orders" of its so-called leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

According to the country's Hurriyet and Karar newspapers, police believe the same Isis cell executed the high-casualty suicide bomb and gun attack at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport in June.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already said the country, which has lost hundreds of citizens to terrorism this year, will "fight to the end against terror".

The manhunt for the killer, who is believed to have fired up to 180 bullets in the 700-capacity venue, continues.

The onslaught, which murdered Saudi Arabians, Moroccans, Lebanese, Libyans, Tunisians, Indians and Jordanians, lasted approximately seven minutes.

The attack also killed one each from Kuwait, Canada, Israel, Syria and Russia, as well as two Bavarian residents: one a Turkish national and the other a dual Turkish-German citizen.

Mr Erdogan earlier said: "As a nation, we will fight to the end against not just the armed attacks of terror groups and the forces behind them, but also against their economic, political and social attacks.

"They are trying to create chaos, demoralise our people, and destabilise our country with abominable attacks that target civilians.

"We will retain our cool-headedness as a nation, standing more closely together, and we will never give ground to such dirty games."

At least 69 people were being treated in hospital after the nightclub attack and four were said to be in a serious condition.

Security in Turkish cities had been heightened during the run-up to the New Year and 17,000 police officers, some reportedly camouflaged as Santa Claus, were deployed.

Twin bombings outside the Besiktas football stadium last month, an attack claimed by Kurdish militants, killed 38 people.



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