Saudi survivor: There were three killers at Reina nightclub on New Year
Hassan Khashoggi recounted grim details about the bloody attack at the posh nightclub on the Bosphorous on New Year's Eve
The Istanbul attack on the popular Reina nightclub was not the handiwork of a single gunman, but three - including a woman - were involved in the killing spree, revealed a Saudi survivor in an interview with Al Arabiya.
Hassan Khashoggi recounted grim details about the bloody attack at the posh nightclub on the Bosphorous on New Year's Eve. He was accompanied by his wife and they were at the club 40 minutes before the shooting began. “We had booked two seats in the Reina restaurant after the recommendation of the hotel. We were told that it was safe, and top personalities enjoy their meals there,” he told Al Arabiya.
“The clock turned 12 heralding the New Year. Joy and delight pervaded the place and everyone was in a state of euphoria. Sddenly, we heard what sounded like drums, and we assumed there was a fight at one of the tables.”
Confusion and shooting
In those moments, he said that he got up from his seat to check on the situation, and suddenly the sound of gunfire was heard. “My wife screamed: ‘I want my kids, I want to go home,’ and I shouted: ‘Now, you need to think of heaven’.”
A mystery woman
In his interview with Al Arabiya, Khashoggi disclosed that there were three attackers, including a woman. He said he heard a person screaming: “Why does she want to kill us?”
He stated that their shooting methods affirmed that they were well-trained. “They did not shoot randomly, but rather walked between tables and pointed at the clients.”
Hassan Khashoggi said that he knew from their accent that they were not Arabs, but foreigners.
Nevertheless, he was not able to identify their nationality.
“The shooting was very intense. We were praying for the arrival of the police or someone to save us. We said our prayers to God," he said.
Khashoggi revealed that he and his wife jumped into the sea. A Saudi girl tried to catch up with them, but they shot her dead.
He said that after several attempts, they convinced a boat owner to take the wounded to the hospital. He took them all, but my wife and I stayed behind because the boat was too small. “We found a warehouse and we hid in it.”
Khashoggi then made contact with his brother in Jeddah to communicate with the embassy or the Turkish police to provide them with their location.
“My wife and I waited in the dugout for about an hour. We could hear the continuous shooting. I sent my farewell to my family,” he said.
Then he saw the marine police and sent them SOS message through the phone flash light, and “they came near to rescue us, but the armed man shot towards the sea, so the police fled.”
Hassan continued his story of being haunted by the sounds of the bullets: “At that moment, we said the Shahada. We were aware that the gunman was so close to us, and could at any moment shoot from the top. After waiting for about an hour, a gun was pointed to my head with a flashlight, and I screamed: Don’t shoot, don’t shoot! Thank God it was the Turkish police.”
What did the police do?
After that, Khashoggi explained that they came out of the dugout and ran out. They saw the scattered bodies lying on the ground. “The police made us sit with other survivors in the station near the restaurant, and then transferred us in two cafes close to the station, and brought water for us. An officer then came and told us that one of the suspects is sitting amongst us, and asked each one to sit next to his companion, for indentification and processing.”