US condemns New Year’s Eve ‘atrocity’ in Istanbul
© Getty Images

The Obama administration late Saturday condemned a terrorist attack in Istanbul, Turkey that killed dozens of people.

“That such an atrocity could be perpetrated upon innocent revelers, many of whom were celebrating New Year's Eve, underscores the savagery of the attackers,” National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. “We offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and loved ones of those killed, and a speedy recovery to the wounded.”


Price also said the U.S. stands with its NATO ally in “our shared determination to confront and defeat all forms of terrorism.”

A gunman, reportedly dressed as Santa Claus, opened fire in a crowded, exclusive Istanbul nightclub during a New Year’s Eve celebration, killing at least 39 people and wounding approximately 70 others. Many of the dead are foreign nationals.

In December, 12 people were killed in an attack on a Berlin Christmas market, raising security concerns across Europe.

President Obama was briefed by his national security team, an aide said late Saturday, adding that the president expressed his condolences and directed officials to offer assistance to Turkish authorities.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner also condemned the Istanbul attack and said in a statement that U.S. officials are in touch with Turkish authorities.

“We stand in solidarity with our NATO Ally Turkey in combating the ongoing threat of terrorism,” he said. “Sadly, this heinous attack is only the latest effort to kill and maim innocent civilians. These attacks only reinforce our strong determination to work with the Government of Turkey to counter the scourge of terrorism.”

--This report was updated at 8:06 a.m.