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Who were the victims of the Istanbul terror attack?


Who were the victims of the Istanbul terror attack?

As police in Turkey extend their manhunt for the gunman who attacked the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, more details have emerged about some of the 39 people killed that night.

Approximately 600 people were celebrating the New Year until a gunman opened fire, shooting at least 180 rounds into the exclusive venue known to attract tourists and famous personalities.

Two-thirds of the victims reportedly were foreigners. Some came from India and Lebanon while others were Israeli and Saudi Arabian. Turks comprised the largest single nationality among those killed.

There is no official list of the victims, but using local and social media and consular reports, euronews has compiled the following list.

Who the victims are and where they’re from

On Sunday the Lebanese General Consul in Istanbul confirmed the death of three of its citizens: Rita Shami, Elias Wardini and Haikal Mussalem in the attack.

Rita Shami

Her cousin, Ziad Chami, posted a small tribute to Shami on social media. Shami’s facebook account has been memorialised.

Elias Wardini and Haikal Mussalem

Wardini and Mussalem played league basketball in Lebanon.

Upon news of their deaths Lebanese Basketball Tweeted the following tribute.

Mussalem was also newly married and a personal trainer. He owned his own fitness club. His wife Mireille Khoury is said to have survived the attack.

Saudi Arabia

Shahad Samman

According to Al Arabiya in English Samman was a newly graduated lawyer.

She died in the club while waiting for her family to meet her. In one of her last posts on social media before she died, Samman wished her followers a happy new year free from hardship.

“Soon we will embark on a new beginning, in a new chapter”, she said.


Hatice Karcilar

Karcilar was a security guard working for a private security company in Istanbul. She also had a three-year-old daughter.

It is not clear if Karcilar was working security on the night of the attack.

Kenan Kutluk

Kutluk was a waiter working in the Reina club the night of the attack.

The club was known to attract star personalities including internationally renowned football players.

Kutluk was a fan of Istanbul’s Galatasaray football club. Posted on his Facebook, Kutluk had met Spanish international football player Diego Costa and German international Melvut Ozil.

Fatih Çakmak

Çakmak too was a security guard.

He was on duty the night of the night club attack.

The Daily Sabah reports Çakmak was on duty the night of Dec. 10 and survived a twin bomb attack by Kurdish militants that targeted police officers killing 38 people.

The Reina night club posted his picture, along with those of Karcilar, Kutluk and Yunus Görmek, calling him a friend.

Burak Yildiz

Yildiz was a 22- year-old police officer working for Turkey’s national police force.

He was recognised by his colleagues on Facebook in the following post.


Abis Rizvi

Rivzi was a film producer who owned his own production company Rivzi Group of Companies.

According to Rivzi’s production company Facebook page, his funeral will take place on Wednesday at 15h00 in Mazgaon, near Mumbai.

“RIP Abis. Pls. Pray for the lovely departed soul”, read a message posted to social media.

Sushma Swaraj, India’s Minister of External Affairs confirmed Rivzi’s death.


Leanne Nasser

Nasser, 18, is from Tira, Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Nasser was a shy young woman who was beginning her career as a dental hygienist.

Her father Zahar had tried to stop her from traveling to Istanbul to celebrate the New Year.

“I had a feeling”, Zahar told The Jerusalem Post . “I told her not to go there, but… youthful stubbornness. I told her it wasn’t worth it with the current security situation.”

Other identified victims

Alaa Al-Muhandia: 29 years old. Canadian, mother of two from Milton, Ontario

Mehmet Kerim Akyil: 23 years old. Turkish, who travelled from Belgium to Istanbul for New Year’s vacation.

Bulent Sirvan Osman: 38 years old. From Erbil, Iraq, a father of two in Istanbul on business.

Abdullah Ahmed Abbolos: 32 years old. A Palestinian living in Saudi Arabia. He was celebrating the New Year in Turkey.

Khushi Shah: 27 years old. A fashion designer from Vadodara, a city in the western Indian state of Gujarat. In Istanbul for a fashion shoot according to The Indian Express . One of her social media statuses read: “What if God asks you after you die…’So how was Heaven?’”

Ayhan Arik: 47 years old. Turkish. A travel agent and a father of two.