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35 dead in Istanbul club attack: governor

AAP logoAAP 31/12/2016

At least 35 people have been killed in an attack on a nightclub in Istanbul, the city's governor Vasip Sahin says.

Sahin said some 40 others were wounded in the assault in the early hours of Sunday.

Sahin said the incident was a "terror attack" without saying who may have carried it out.

The attacker shot a police officer and a civilian as he entered the Reina nightclub in the Ortakoy district of Istanbul before opening fire inside the building, Sahin said.

Footage from the scene showed at least six ambulances with flashing lights and civilians being escorted out. NTV said police had cordoned off the area and an operation to capture the assailant was ongoing.

An AP photographer says police cordoned off the area about three kilometres away from the nightclub and reported multiple ambulances passing by.

Security measures had been heightened in major Turkish cities, with police barring traffic leading up to key squares in Istanbul and the capital Ankara. In Istanbul, 17,000 police officers were put on duty, some camouflaged as Santa Claus and others as street vendors, state news agency Anadolu reported.

Ankara and Istanbul have been targeted by several attacks in 2016 carried out by the Islamic State group or Kurdish rebels, killing more than 180 people.

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