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Istanbul Nightclub Attack Suspect Captured, Reported To Be Uzbek


A picture released by the Turkish police and taken from Dogan News Agency on January 16 shows the main suspect in the Reina nightclub rampage captured by Turkish police.

A man suspected of killing 39 people in an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Day has been caught in the city's Esenyurt district, Turkish media have reported.

The man, identified by the Hurriyet newspaper as an Uzbek national, was captured in a police raid on a house belonging to a friend from Kyrgyzstan, private NTV television reported on January 17. NTV said the man had resisted arrest.

The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has claimed responsibility for the January 1 nightclub attack, saying it was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.

Hurriyet and other media have identified the gunman as Uzbek citizen Abdulkadir Masharipov. Media reported that the man's 4-year-old son was with him during the raid and that at least four others, including a man of Kyrgyz origin, were also detained.

Turkish police on January 9 identified Masharipov as the alleged attacker. At the time, media reports quoted Istanbul police as saying that Masharipov, known by the nickname "Abu Muhammed Horasani," had links with IS in Syria and Iraq.

NTV said that police had known about his location for the past four or five days, but they held off on the raid to enable them to monitor his movements and contacts.

Police released a photo, purportedly of the suspect, showing a man with a bloodstained shirt and cuts and bruises on his face.

In the early hours of New Year's Day, the attacker burst into the Reina nightclub and opened fire with an automatic rifle. According to authorities, he reloaded his weapon at least six times and shot many of the wounded as they lay on the ground.

Turkish citizens as well as visitors from several Arab states, India, and Canada were among those killed in the attack on the upscale nightclub.

Citing security sources, agencies reported that operations against other potential terrorist cells were under way on January 17.

IS has been blamed for at least six major attacks in Turkey since mid-2015, including an attack on a peace rally in October 2015 that killed more than 100 people in Ankara.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, dpa, and Hurriyet
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