The manhunt is still underway for the dangerous Istanbul terrorist.
The only American, was saved by his cell phone, his brother told local media on Monday. He is confirmed to have been injured in a New Year’s terror attack on an Istanbul nightclub.
One of an estimated 600 people partying inside the Reina nightclub early on New Year’s Day, William Jacob Raak, 35, of Chadds Ford, Pa., was inside when a gunman entered and opened fire at around 1:15 a.m. At least 39 people were killed, many of them being foreigners, and injured close to 70 others. The attack was claimed by ISIS.
Raak, was at the club with a friend from Dubai. He was shot in the hip. His brother, Michael Raak, said that the bullet “hit his phone” before traveling to Jacob Raak’s knee.
The cell phone prevented the bullet from hitting a major artery, likely saving the American’s life, doctors told Raak.
Raak said he laid on the floor of the nightclub and played dead as the gunman moved through the gory blood-spattered scene. He described himself as “probably the luckiest person in the whole thing.”
He said, “When he shot me I didn’t move, I just let him shoot me I was shot when I was already on the ground. He was shooting people that he had already shot.”
Camera crews captured Raak as he was being loaded onto an ambulance on the scene.
“I was shot in the f—ing leg, man these crazy people came in shooting everything,” he yelled to reporters.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the attacker left a gun at the club and escaped by “taking advantage of the chaos” that resulted. Some customers aperently jumped into the waters of the Bosporus strait to escape the attack.
Raak was being treated at a hospital in Turkey, family members said but was expected to be discharged soon to return to Philadelphia.
Following more than 30 violent acts over the past year in Turkey, the mass shooting is not the first. Turkey is a member of the NATO alliance and a partner in the U.S. led coalition fighting against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
In 2016, the country endured multiple bombings. Three were in Istanbul alone that authorities blamed on ISIS. There was a failed coup attempt in July and renewed conflict with Kurdish rebels in the southeast.
It doesn’t seem to be a safe place for Americans to be traveling to.