Istanbul - As the New Years Eve party reached climax, a gunman opened fire, killing 35. The gunman was dressed in a "Santa Claus" costume as he went on his murderous tirade. According to the Independent News website, the rampage took place in a nightclub. Hundreds of people were celebrating the turn of the year before the gunman opened fire.

Reports claim that the gunman killed a police officer and civilian before storming doors. The club, packed to capacity, had 700 people packed inside. The gunman managed to kill 35, including 15 foreigners in the Ortakoy district.

The gunman also injured dozens more.

Interior minister Suleyman Soylu claims that 69 are in the hospital for their injuries. On top of all that, the gunman is still at large. The gunman escaped after killing as many as he could before escaping out of the door and into the party crowd. Escape was easy, experts say, due to all the fireworks and screaming people outside. It is still unclear if this was "jihad," because Islamic state has no made any claim to the abomination.

Search under way

According to the Independent, Soylu had this to say: "Efforts to find the terrorist are continuing," he said.

"Our security forces have started the necessary operations. God willing he will be caught in a short period of time." Locals say that people were jumping into the waters of the Bosphorus strait, to escape.

Motives are not clear at the moment, but police hope to find out more soon. The attack started around 1.30am local time.

Local Turkish media broadcasted the footage outside from CCTV footage. The footage recorded the Santa dressed gunman walking around before the attack.

What we know

Witnesses said he was speaking Arabic, not Turkish, which suggests he was not a Turkey native. Vasip Sahin, the governor of Istanbul, claims that this was terrorism.

Yet, he did not put a name on who was responsible.

According to the Independent, Sahin had this to say: “The attacker - in the most brutal and merciless way - targeted innocent people who had only come here to celebrate the New Year and have fun.” Amid search efforts, police have blocked off the area, in hopes of finding the "Santa." President Obama has condemned the attack and has offered assistance in investigating the massacre.