At least 25 victims were foreigners: Report

(Left): Ms Nasser, a young Israeli who had travelled to Turkey to ring in the new year despite her father's concerns about safety, was among the 39 people who died in the Reina nightclub attack in Istanbul. Said her father Zaher: "Before she left, I
(Left): Ms Nasser, a young Israeli who had travelled to Turkey to ring in the new year despite her father's concerns about safety, was among the 39 people who died in the Reina nightclub attack in Istanbul. Said her father Zaher: "Before she left, I asked her not to go but, to my regret, she insisted." (Center): Mr Rizvi, another victim, was a Bollywood producer passionate about environmental conservation. He came from a prominent real estate family based in Mumbai, and his father is a former member of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament. (Right): Mr Mousallem, a Lebanese businessman, had gone to Reina to celebrate the new year with his wife of five months when the shooting took place and he was killed.PHOTOS: FACEBOOK

ISTANBUL • Mr Abis Rizvi made a Bollywood action film about tigers. Ms Leanne Nasser insisted on travelling from Israel, even though her father was worried about her safety. Mr Haykal Mousallem, a businessman, came from Lebanon with his wife to ring in the new year. Also there to celebrate was Mr Nawras Assaf, who owned a lounge and bar in Jordan.

These four people were among those who died in the nightclub attack in Istanbul.

The Reina nightclub was a buzzing oasis, frequented by Turks and foreigners, many of them from the Middle East or South Asia.

The patrons ranged widely in nationality and religion. What they tended to share was a zest for looking good and having fun, and the ability to afford an expensive evening on the town.

At least 25 of those killed were foreigners, according to the semi-official Anadolu news agency. According to media reports and government statements, the dead included citizens of Belgium, Canada, France, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.

 
 
 

Partly because of restrictions on news coverage, little information about the Turkish victims of the attack was immediately available, although a young police officer and a travel agent were said to be among those killed.

The death of Mr Rizvi, a Bollywood producer, was confirmed by Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who said she was arranging for his family to go to Turkey.

Mr Rizvi came from a prominent real estate family based in Mumbai, and his father Akhtar Hasan Rizvi is a former member of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament. A younger brother died of cancer in 2009, his cousin Rashid Rizvi said in a phone interview.

Mr Rizvi was passionate about environmental conservation and produced a 2014 film, Roar: Tigers Of The Sundarbans, set in a Bengali region famous for its mangrove forest.

Ms Nasser, the young Israeli who died in the attack, was from Tira, an Arab Israeli town. A friend from the same town, who travelled with her, was hospitalised with gunshot wounds.

Ms Nasser's father Zaher told Israeli news site Ynet: "I know that the security situation in Turkey is not simple. Before she left, I asked her not to go, but to my regret, she insisted."

The death of Mr Mousallem, the Lebanese businessman who had gone to Istanbul with his wife, was confirmed by relatives, according to Reuters.

Standing in front of a forensic institute on the outskirts of Istanbul on Sunday night, Ms Stephanie Deek, a Lebanese woman, said she knew Mr Mousallem and his wife, adding that they had married five months ago.

"He went to the toilet and his wife was waiting inside for him when the attack happened," Ms Deek said as local officials offered tea to grieving families. "She ran outside but couldn't find her husband."

Ms Deek said: "I am so sad. I cannot describe how I feel."

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2017, with the headline 'At least 25 victims were foreigners: Report'. Print Edition | Subscribe