An Israeli teen who went missing following the deadly shooting attack at the Reina nightclub Istanbul on New Year’s Eve, was pronounced dead shortly after noon on Sunday. Leann Zaher Nasser, 18, was later found at another Istanbul hospital after having lost her purse and cellphone.
She was one of the four Israeli women among the revelers at the Reina nightclub who fell victim to the attack, with another wounded and one suffering from shock. The fourth was unharmed.
At least 41 people were killed and 70 others wounded when an assailant believed to have been dressed in a Santa Claus costume opened fire inside the crowded nightclub.
One of the wounded is an 18.5-year-old Israeli woman from the Arab city of Tira who is in moderate condition.
“My daughter is currently in surgery at the hospital. She was shot in her hand and leg,” her father told Ynet. “I spoke to her at 7am this morning, before she went into surgery. She’s in good condition and I hope it improves.”
His daughter was partying at the club with three other friends from Tira. One was suffering from shock and one was unharmed and taken to the police station to give her testimony. A fourth friend, 19-year-old Leann Zaher Nasser, is currently missing.
“She and her friends were very far (from the attacker), they were just on the other side (of the club), the father of the wounded woman continued. “Someone came in through the back door and started shooting—first into the air. When the guards approached him, he started shooting at civilians.”
“When my daughter heard the gunfire, she dropped to the ground and crawled toward the door to get out of the club. She was apparently hit by two bullets—one to her hand and one to her leg.”
He said his daughter is supposed to stay in the hospital in Turkey for three or four days and then will be taken back to Israel for further treatment.
The mother of the woman suffering from shock said her daughter’s mental state is “very bad.”
“She told me they were at a restaurant near the club. All of a sudden a man in Santa Claus outfit came and started shooting non-stop. She’s still not internalizing everything that had happened and keeps asking about her friends who were with her,” the mother said.
The attacker, armed with a long-barreled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian outside the club after 1am Sunday before entering and firing on people partying inside. Some customers jumped into the waters of the Bosporus to escape the attack.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the attacker has not been identified and is still at large. “Our security forces have started the necessary operations. God willing he will be caught in a short period of time,” he said.
The minister said the attacker was believed to have left the club wearing different clothing to the Santa Claus outfit he was reportedly wearing during the attack. He said the attacker is believed to have carried out the assault alone.
At least 15 of the dead were foreign nationals, Soylu said, without providing information on their nationalities. Five of the victims were identified as Turkish nationals while authorities were still trying to identify the rest.