BLOODY HAND: Group claims the attack carried out at the behest of their group leader
ISTANBUL/CAIRO: Turkish police have detained eight suspects in connection with an IS terrorist attack at a nightclub in Istanbul that left 39 people dead on New Year’s Eve, local media reported.
The state-run Anadolu agency said that the attacker, who escaped after gunning down dozens of party goers in the early hours of the new year, was not among those being questioned.
Apparent supporters of the IS terrorist group released a statement claiming that a member of the group carried out the attack at the waterfront Reina nightclub.
The attack was carried out in response to an order from the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, to target Turkey, according to the statement on Monday. dpa could not independently verify the authenticity of the statement but it appeared consistent with previous claims by the group. It was published via a channel on the Telegram messaging app that has carried previous IS messages.
A police manhunt for the gunman is under way.
Earlier reports had said that there may have been two attackers, but Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim spoke of only one gunman.
Most of the dead were foreign nationals: seven from Saudi Arabia; three from Lebanon; three from Iraq; two each from Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan and India; and one victim from Kuwait, Canada, Israel, Syria and Russia respectively, Anadolu reported.
Two of those who died are believed to be from Germany, the Foreign Ministry spokesman in Berlin said on Monday.
The spokesman said one of those who was killed during the attack on the Reina club held dual German-Turkish citizenship. The other resided in Germany. Both were from the southern state of Bavaria.
A further three people from Germany were injured, but were now out of danger, the spokesman said.
Twelve of the victims were Turks, with one holding dual Turkish-Belgian nationality.
Turkey and allied Syrian rebel forces invaded IS-held areas of northern Syria in August, forcing the extremist group from its last stretch of the border between the two countries.
In November Al Baghdadi called on his group’s fighters to attack Turkey. Days later, the group issued its first official claim for a bomb attack inside Turkey, a blast that killed nine people at a police station in the mainly Kurdish south-east. — dpa