Horrific news is emerging of a nightclub shooting in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with the local governor reporting a death toll of at least 35 and as many as 40 wounded.

A lone gunman – who was allegedly dressed as Santa – is said to have opened fire during New Year’s Eve celebrations at iconic hotspot Reina just before 1:15am local time on Sunday.

It’s believed as many as 500 people were inside the Bosphorus Strait-hugging venue when heavy gunfire rang out, sending panicked revellers running for their lives.

Many jumped into the water to escape the gunfire and are now being rescued by emergency services.

Governor Vasip Sahin, of Istanbul Province, has called it a terrorist attack, claiming the gunman fired on the police before heading inside the club.

“One person first kills the police officer outside, and then a civilian. Inside, he rained bullets brutally, mercilessly over innocent people who were there just to celebrate the New Year and have fun.”

Distressing photos and videos from the scene show multiple bodies outside the club and a large number of ambulances pulling up to the scene.

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A video posted by Sherif Madkour (@smadkour) on

There’s been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

We’ll keep you updated as the story develops.

Source: BNO News.

Photo: Luxury Service Istanbul.