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Here Are Some Of The Victims Of The Istanbul Nightclub Massacre

A gunman opened fire inside a popular club on New Year’s Day, killing 39 people. This list will be updated as victims are identified and confirmed.

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Updated on

Rita Chami

Facebook / Via facebook.com

The Lebanese Ministry of Communications confirmed that Rita Chami was among the victims of the attack at Reina nightclub. Her Facebook page has been memorialized.

Her cousin Ziad Chami posted on Facebook about her death, noting that Rita’s mother had also died and saying, “may you rest in peace in the heavens with the angels and your lovely mum.”

Marquis Johnson, a friend of Rita's, told BuzzFeed News in an email that the two met when he was on a show tour in Beirut, and that he would always remember how hospitable she had been while he was in town.

He said that she often dropped whatever plans she made to join him and his friends for fun night's out in Beirut, and everywhere they went, they "were treated like rock stars."

Johnson, who lives in New York said that Rita "was a person that was proud of her heritage and cared deeply to share that culture with anyone who wanted to find out more about it."

She was someone that would give you the shirt off her back. She was a woman who spoke her mind," he added.

Haykal Moussallem

Facebook / Via facebook.com

According to the BBC, Haykal Moussallem — whose name has also been spelled “Haikal” — owned a fitness club.

Several of the people who had been trained by Moussallem shared photos of their workouts with him on Facebook as they expressed their grief.

Facebook / Via Facebook: video.php

Moussallem’s wife, Mireille Khoury, was also reportedly at Reina the night of the attack but escaped without any injuries, according to Al Arabiya.

Elias Wardini

Facebook / Via facebook.com

It was reported that Elias Wardini survived the attack inside Reina and attempted to flee the scene by jumping into the Bosphorus, but later drowned, according to Al Arabiya, which cited Lebanese publications.

But several people who knew Elias have written to BuzzFeed News saying that those reports are false, and that he actually died while trying to protect his wife from the gunshots.

Lebanese Basketball tweeted its condolences to both Wardini and Moussallem, who were involved in the league.

For Elias and Haykal 🙏🏻🌹 #EliHay

Shahad Samman

Facebook / Via facebook.com

According to her Facebook page, Shahad Sammam was a lawyer and legal adviser at the Tamer Group, and was from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Shahad’s younger brother Sulaimain Samman told Al Arabiya that his sister had been waiting for relatives at Reina the night of the attack.

“My 26-year-old sister was waiting for my uncle, his wife and their little daughter at the Reina restaurant in the Ortakoy area, she was in constant contact with us through WhatsApp,” he said.

“The streets were crowded so my uncle and his family were running late, escaping death. He explained that the family members were in Istanbul for business and tourism. Terrorism transformed their happiness to sorrow. What did my innocent sister do to deserve this?”

In some of the last Snapchat posts Shahad uploaded before she died, she wished her followers a year free of agonies and full of love and happiness.

“Soon we will embark on a new beginning, in a new chapter,” she wrote.

Abdullah Ahmed Abbolos

A Palestinian who had been residing in Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Ahmed Abbolos, 32, was in Istanbul to ring in the New Year, according to the AP, who cited Anadolu.

Lubna Ghasnawi

Traveled to Istanbul for New Years with friends, according to Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu. The 34-year-old entrepreneur was a communications manager for one of Saudi Arabia's largest banks and also co-owned a startup with her sister called Exclusave Card, the first student discount card in Saudi Arabia, according to CNN.

Hatice Karcilar

Facebook / Via Facebook: ReinaIstanbul

Hatice Karcilar was a private security guard, married with a 3-year-old daughter, the AP reported, citing Anadolu.

It remains unclear if Karcilar was working as a security guard the night of the attack at Reina, but the club's Facebook page posted a photo of her and three other victims, saying, "Thank God for our friends who lost [their lives] in the treacherous attack."

Fatih Cakmak

Facebook / Via Facebook: ReinaIstanbul

Security guard Fatih Cakmak was on duty during the Dec. 10 shootings by Kurdish militants at the Besiktas stadium in Istanbul, where 38 were killed.

The attackers were later discovered to have been targeting police officers, but Cakmak survived, according to the Daily Sabah, a Turkish newspaper.

Cakmak was also on duty at Reina the night of the shooting. The nightclub posted his photo on its Facebook page, calling him a friend.

Kenan Kutluk

Facebook / Via facebook.com

Kenan Kutluk was a server at Reina, according to CNN Turkey. The club remembered him as a friend on its Facebook page. The 35-year-old was married and had two young children.

His funeral was held in his hometown of Sivas, and was attended by family members and local officials, including the governor of the municipality.

Burak Yildiz

Facebook / Via facebook.com

Burak Yildiz was a 22-year-old police officer for the national police, Emniyet Genel Mudurlugu. The department honored him with a message of condolence on Facebook.

Facebook: EmniyetGM

Burak’s older brother, Murat, is also a police officer for Emniyet Genel Mudurlugu. The two have several photos together on Facebook.

Ayhan Arik

Ozan Kose / AFP / Getty Images

Ayhan Arik was a driver for a company that took tourists to and from Reina, according to the BBC. The AP reported that he was also a travel agent. He was a father with at least two children.

Arik's funeral was held shortly after the attack. His family members mourned over his coffin as he was laid to rest.

Mehmet Kerim Akyil

Mehmet Kerim Akyil had traveled to Istanbul from Belgium on vacation to celebrate the new year, his father, Ali, told state-run Turkish news agency Anadolu, according to the Associated Press. The mayor of the Belgium town where he resided posted a tribute to Akyil on Facebook.

Emrah Gurel / AP

Mourners chant slogans as they carry the Turkish flag-draped coffin of Yunus Gormek, 23, one of the victims of the attack at a nightclub on New Year's Day, during the funeral in Istanbul, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. Turkey's state-run news agency says police have detained eight people in connection with the Istanbul nightclub attack. The gunman, who escaped after carrying out the attack, wasn't among the eight. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed 39 people, most of them foreigners. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Bulent Sirvan Osman

A 38-year-old married father of two, Bulent Sirvan Osman in Istanbul for business purposes, according to the AP, who cited state-run Turkish news agency Anadolu.

Bulent Osman was a pharmacist, according to Turkish news site T24. His relatives traveled from Erbil to Istanbul to claim his body at the Forensic Medical Institute.

Khushi Shah

AP Photo/Fotocorp

Fashion designer Kushi Shah, 27, studied in the US before returning to India, where she opened up a store called Kushi Z in Mumbai, according to the Times of India.

Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj confirmed Khushi’s death, as well as that of one other Indian national, on Twitter.

The victims are Mr.Abis Rizvi son of former Rajya Sabha MP and Ms.Khushi Shah from Gujarat. /2

A native of the Indian city of Vadodara, Shah had been in Istanbul on a business trip, her family members told CNN. Her relatives are en route to Turkey to claim her body.

Abis Rizvi

Facebook / Via facebook.com

Abis Rizvi, who lived in Mumbai, was a producer and owned a company called Rizvi Group of Companies, according to his Facebook page.

Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj tweeted that Rizvi’s family had sought visas so they could travel to Turkey to claim their son.

I have just spoken to Mr.Akhtar Hassan Rizvi father of Abis Rizvi. He and Mrs Rizvi also want to go to Istanbul. We r organising their Visa.

Asif Bhamia, who called Rizvi one of his dearest childhood friends, posted about Rizvi's death on Facebook.

Layan Nasser

Instagram / Via Provided to BuzzFeed News

Layan Nasser — whose name has also been spelled Leanne — flew to Turkey from Israel on Dec. 30 with two friends, Roa Mansour and Alaa Abdul Hai, according to a Facebook check-in she posted that day.

The 18-year-old was a Palestinian citizen of Israel, and her Facebook page has been memorialized.

Facebook: permalink.php

According to CNN, Nasser’s parents had forbidden her from traveling to Istanbul to celebrate the New Year, but her aunt, Layal Masarweh, had advocated for her taking the trip.

"Her father was totally against that," Masarweh said. "He was saying that Istanbul is too dangerous and that she should not go at all. But she insisted, saying that nothing will happen to her."

Masarweh now says she cannot forgive herself for what happened to her niece, who had aspirations of becoming a dentist.

"I wish I was with her to defend her or do anything to save her life. I wish they took my soul and gave it to her,” she said.

Nasser’s family has planned to hold her funeral on Tuesday.

Mansour and Hai survived the attack, according to Palestinian news site Shasha.

Alaa Al-Muhandia

Facebook / Via facebook.com

Alaa Al-Muhandia had traveled from Ontario to Jordan two months ago to visit a sick friend, her husband Asal Ahmed told the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC). She had taken a trip to Turkey from Jordan with friends to celebrate the New Year.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that one Canadian had died in the Reina nightclub attack on Jan. 1, though her identity was not immediately released.

"Friends and family are in total shock for their great loss," he said.

She was an event planner and mother, and known to have a penchant for travel. Her brother, Mohammad Al Muhandis, told the CBC that he was not even aware that she was in Turkey for the holiday.

“I don't know even know how to tell my mom," he said.

Jordan

Nawras Asaf / Via Facebook

Nawras Asaf, 44, a businessman who died in the attack was buried Tuesday. Hundreds attending his funeral ceremony, according to AP. His wife was among those wounded.

This post will be updated as more victims are identified and confirmed.

Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tamerra Griffin at tamerra.griffin@buzzfeed.com.

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