Turkey 'identifies Istanbul nightclub attacker'

Five suspected Isis militants arrested in the early hours of Wednesday but New Year's Eve gunman remains at large, authorities say

Harriet Agerholm
Wednesday 04 January 2017 08:19 GMT
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Undated handout photo released by Turkish police of suspect who killed 39 in an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Eve
Undated handout photo released by Turkish police of suspect who killed 39 in an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Eve (Dogan News Agency)

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The attacker who killed 39 people in a shooting at an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Eve has been identified, the Turkish foreign minister has said.

Mevlut Cavusoglu did not name the suspect, who remains at large, in a televised interview with Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu on Wednesday.

Investigators have previously released photos of the alleged gunman, and Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday that the authorities have records of his fingerprints.

Turkish police conducted a series of raids in the Aegean port city of Izmir overnight on Tuesday, arresting five men thought to have links to terror group Isis, but did not catch the perpetrator of the seven-minute long massacre in Istanbul's Reina nightclub.

The gunman is thought to have been living in Izmir with his wife and children for three weeks before going to Istanbul to carry out the shooting. It is believed he was previously based in Konya, in the centre of the country.

At least twenty people have been detained in connection to the incident so far, including two people of foreign nationality who were arrested at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on Tuesday.

Isis has claimed responsibility for the attack, which wounded 70 more people, several of whom are still in a critical condition. CCTV footage showed a man killing a police officer and security guard before entering the nightclub. After people dropped to the floor when the first shots were fired, he shot at those lying down before changing his clothes and leaving the scene.

Most of those killed were foreigners from Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Israel and Syria.

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