Canadian woman killed at Istanbul nightclub was 'always happy,' friends say

Friends and family mourn the loss of Alaa Al Muhandis after the Milton, Ont., woman was killed along with 38 other people during a New Year's attack on a nightclub in Istanbul.

Alaa Al Muhandis, a Milton, Ont., mother of 2, among dozens killed at nightclub in Turkey

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

Friends and family of Milton, Ont., resident Alaa Al Muhandis, who was among the 39 people killed during a New Year's Day shooting at an Istanbul nightclub, said she was a "very kind" woman who was "always happy."

Al Muhandis, 29, was among hundreds of people in the popular Reina nightclub around 1:15 a.m. local time when a gunman opened fire on the crowd. The man behind the attack is still at large.

Asal Ahmed, Al Muhandis's husband, told CBC News in a statement that she was a proud mother of two who worked as an event planner and loved to travel. He described her as an "outgoing, optimistic and loving person."

Ghada Saad, an event planner who said she knew Al Muhandis for years and worked with her several times, said the young woman was "full of life."

"Whoever knew her knew she was a lovely person inside and out," Saad said.

'A great loss'

Ahmed Atrakchi, who described himself as a family friend who knew Al Muhandis for 10 years, called her "a great mom" to her two children, who he said are three and seven years old.

Ahmed Atrakchi said his friend Alaa Al Muhandis, the Milton, Ont. woman killed in a New Year's Day attack in Istanbul, always had a smile on her face. 0:35

"It's a great loss for everybody, and everybody is trying to cope with it," Atrakchi told reporters at LooLoo Auto, a used-car lot in Milton owned by Al Muhandis and her husband.

"She was a great person, always happy, always a big smile on her face, and she will forever be loved and remembered."

Mohammed Hamoudi, president of the Mississauga, Ont.-based Mesopotamia Group, which runs a series of community events, was shocked by news of her death. His group posted an image of Al Muhandis smiling behind a booth she had set up at a recent bazaar.

"She was very kind, very nice," he said.

Late Tuesday morning, Al Muhandis's brother, Mohammed, posted a note to Facebook announcing her death.

He said a funeral service will be held Sunday at the Shahrayar Centre in Mississauga from noon until 4 p.m.

"May God bless her soul & may she rest in peace," the announcement read.