Ontario woman killed in Istanbul nightclub attack was 'outgoing, optimistic'

A 29-year-old Milton, Ont., woman named Alaa Al Muhandis was among the 39 people killed in the New Year's Day attack at a popular Istanbul nightclub, CBC News has learned, and is being remembered by her family as "a proud mother and wonderful wife."

Alaa Al Muhandis had travelled from Jordan to Turkey to ring in New Year, her husband says

Milton, Ont. resident Alaa Al Muhandis was among the 39 people killed in the Istanbul nightclub shooting on New Year's Eve. (Facebook)

The family of Alaa Al Muhandis, a Milton, Ont., woman killed in a New Year's Day attack at a popular Istanbul nightclub, is remembering the 29-year-old as a "proud mother and wonderful wife."

In a statement to CBC News, Al Muhandis's husband, Asal Ahmed, described the mother of two as an "outgoing, optimistic and loving person," who worked as an event planner and loved to travel.

Al Muhandis was among 39 people victims killed when a gunman shot his way into the Reina nightclub in Istanbul around 1:15 a.m., just over an hour into 2017.

Her husband said she was in Amman, Jordan, for the last two months and had travelled to Turkey with a small group of friends to ring in the New Year. 

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

Al Muhandis, from Milton, Ont., was among those killed in the shooting at an Istanbul nightclub. (Facebook)

Al Muhandis's brother Mohammad told CBC News he received a call from Al Muhandis's husband on Monday.

"He told me that she passed away. I don't know even know how to tell my mom," said Mohammad Al Muhandis in an interview.

The shooter, who has not yet been identified, killed a police officer and a civilian as he entered before opening fire at random inside the club. At least 69 people were injured in the carnage.

Mohammad Al Muhandis said the news of his sister's death came as shock because he had no idea she was in Istanbul.

She had been in Jordan for the last two months visiting a sick friend, he said.

The last time he spoke to her was on Dec. 29th or 30th. 

Authorities close to identifying gunman

Relatives react at the funeral of Busra Kose, a victim of the attack by a gunman at Reina nightclub, in Istanbul, Turkey. (Osman Orsal/Reuters)

Authorities have obtained the fingerprints and a basic description of the gunman and are close to identifying him, according to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus.

Eight people had been detained in connection to the attack. The gunman, who escaped, wasn't among the eight.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is claiming responsibility for the attack.

With files from Reuters, The Associated Press