Istanbul attack: ISIS claims responsibility for New Year terror attack on Christians celebrating 'pagan feast'

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the New Year's attack at a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey which left 39 people dead and dozens wounded.

(REUTERS / Murat Ergin / Ihlas News Agency via Reuters)An injured woman is carried to an ambulance from a nightclub where a gun attack took place during a New Year party in Istanbul, Turkey.

On Monday, IS-linked Aamaq News Agency said a "heroic soldier" carried out the attack at the Reina nightclub "where Christians were celebrating their pagan feast." The report also revealed that the assailant used an automatic rifle and hand grenades in the Istanbul attack to obey the orders of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to take "revenge for God's religion."

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In the said statement, the Islamic State indicated that the Istanbul attack was retaliation for the country's participation in the military offensives against the terror group in Iraq and Syria.

"We let infidel Turkey know that the blood of Muslims that is being shed by its airstrikes and artillery shelling will turn into fire on its territories," the group said in the statement.

Turkish police have detained several people in connection with the Istanbul attack but were reportedly still looking for the gunman. According to Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, authorities already have the assailant's fingerprints and description and are on the verge of identifying him.

A surveillance video showed the gunman shooting a security guard and police officer at the nightclub's entrance. The club's DJ told Turkish daily Hurriyet that the man was near his booth when the shooting started.

On Tuesday, authorities arrested two foreigners at the Ataturk airport in connection with the New Year's Day attack, according to state-run Anadolu agency. So far, police have arrested a total of 16 people as their investigation into the Istanbul attack progresses, CNN reports.

Police have released a "selfie video" taken by the suspect in Taksim square near the Reina nightclub, but they have not yet revealed his name and nationality. The said clip was first uploaded on a pro-ISIS Telegram account before being picked up by Turkish media.

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