38 year old Alaa Al Muhandis of Milton, Ontario, is among the 39 people killed in the New Year’s Day shooting at a popular Istanbul nightclub, for which the Islamic State took responsibility.
Around 1:15 in the morning of January 1, when at least 600 people were celebrating the New Year at the glitzy Reina nightclub, a gunman burst into the venue and started firing indiscriminately, killing 39 people and wounding at least 40 others.
According to an Israeli tourist who survived the attack, the gunman yelled “Allahu Akhbar” as he opened fire on the crowd.
The latest attack shocked Turkey, which has been targeted by terrorists affiliated with either Islamic State or Kurdish separatists.
Al Muhandis leaves behind a husband and two children.
Other victims include an 18 year old Israeli from the northern town of Tira, as well as Turkish, Indian and Lebanese nationals.
Al Muhandis is the latest Canadian citizen to be killed by Islamic jihadists abroad. On December 20, 2016, Linda Vatcher, 62, a retired teacher from Newfoundland was one of ten people killed after unidentified gunmen opened fire on police and passers-by near an ancient castle in the Jordanian city of Karak. In January 2016, six Canadians from Quebec were killed in a terrorist attack on a Burkina Faso hotel. Two Canadians were beheaded by members of ISIS-linked organization Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, and one Canadian was killed during an ISIS attack in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The number of Canadians murdered by terrorists in 2016 was the highest since 9/11, when 26 Canadians lost their lives.
Following the attack, Prime Minister Trudeau issued a statement offering condolences to the families of the victims, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion condemned the attack on twitter. Both Trudeau and Dion remained silent as to the motive of the attack, sticking to the unofficial policy which separates between “peaceful Islam” and Muslim terrorists who carry out attack in the name of Islam, and arguing that Muslims are, in fact, the greatest victims of terrorism.
Ilana Shneider is the co-editor of CIJnews and the founding executive director of Canada-Israel Friendship Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the mutually beneficial, long-standing diplomatic, economic and cultural ties between Canada and Israel. She can be reached at [email protected]