Two Indians lost their lives in the Istanbul nightclub attack, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Sunday. The victims are Abis Rizvi, son of former Rajya Sabha MP and noted builder of Bandra in Mumbai Akhtar Hasan Rizvi, and Khushi Shah from Gujarat. Abis Rizvi was CEO of Rizvi Builders and had produced a number of films including the 2014 movie Roar: The Tigers of the Sundarbans.
I have a bad news from Turkey. We have lost two Indian nationals in the Istanbul attack. Indian Ambassador is on way to Istanbul. /1— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) January 1, 2017
The victims are Mr.Abis Rizvi son of former Rajya Sabha MP and Ms.Khushi Shah from Gujarat. /2— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) January 1, 2017
I have just spoken to Mr.Akhtar Hassan Rizvi father of Abis Rizvi. He and Mrs Rizvi also want to go to Istanbul. We r organising their Visa.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) January 1, 2017
I have also spoken to Shri Ashok Shah father of Ms.Khushi Shah and conveyed our condolences.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) January 1, 2017
A gunman opened fire on New Year revellers at a packed nightclub on the shores of Istanbul’s Bosphorus waterway on Sunday killing at least 39 people, including many foreigners, then fled the scene. The two Indians are among 15 foreigners who have been killed. Some people jumped into the Bosphorus waters to save themselves after the attacker opened fire at random in the Reina nightclub just over an hour into the new year. Officials spoke of a single attacker but some reports, including on social media, suggested there may have been more.
The Reina club is one of Istanbul’s best known nightspots, popular with locals and foreigners. Some 600 people were thought to have been inside when the gunman shot dead a policeman and civilian at the door, forced his way in and then opened fire.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the attacker escaped and security forces have launched a major manhunt to nab him while expressing the hope he will be caught soon.
Soylu said 20 victims have been identified so far out of which 15 were foreigners and five were Turks.
Turkish state news agency Anadolu also quoted Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya as saying most of the dead were foreigners “from different countries — Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Lebanon, Libya”.
The attack shook NATO member Turkey as it tries to recover from a failed July coup and a series of deadly bombings in cities including Istanbul and the capital Ankara, some blamed on Islamic State and others claimed by Kurdish militants.
“As a nation, we will fight to the end against not just the armed attacks of terror groups, but also against their economic, political and social attacks,” President Tayyip Erdogan said in a written statement. “They are trying to create chaos, demoralize our people, and destabilize our country … We will retain our cool-headedness as a nation, standing more closely together, and we will never give ground to such dirty games,” he said.
There has been no claim of responsibility, but Erdogan linked the attacks to developments in the region where Turkey faces conflict across its frontier in Syria and Iraq. Some three million Syrian refugees currently live on Turkish soil.
(With inputs from Reuters and PTI)