Turkey police identify nightclub attacker

ANKARA: Turkish police on Sunday confirmed the identity of the suspect who attacked the crowded nightclub on the New Year’s Eve in Istanbul as an Uzbek national. Abdulkadir Masharipov arrived in Istanbul from the central Anatolian province of Konya on December 15, Hurriyet Daily News reported, citing the police as saying. He was part of an IS cell in Konya that consists of Uzbeks. They continued to provide logistical support to Masharipov, who was also known as “Ebu Muhammed Horasani”. The attacker remains on the run after escaping the Reina nightclub despite the massive deployment of police to prevent attacks targeting New Year’s celebrations.

Masharipov is accused of killing 39 people and injuring 65 others at the club on January 1, although some eyewitnesses said that there were more attackers than one. According to the investigation carried out by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, it was determined that Masharipov has been in Turkey since 2011, Hurriyet Daily News added. Earlier on Thursday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said that the shooter was probably Uyghur, a Turkic-speaking ethnic group that inhabits the far west of China, bordering Central Asian republics. On the other hand, government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus said on the same day that the suspect probably came from Kyrgyzstan, although he did not specify his nationality. Masharipov is accused of killing 39 people and wounding 65 others at the club, although some eyewitnesses have suggested there was more than one attacker.

Meanwhile, new footage of the attack has emerged from inside the Reina nightclub. Masharipov is seen being kicked by a person as he was trying to hide among the wounded right before leaving the nightclub, the daily reported. In the footage recorded at 1:20 am on January 1, people are seen running around in panic, as well as trying to drag the wounded out of harm’s way. Others are seen trying to hide under their tables as the ISIL militant continues shooting. At around 1:26 am, Masharipov is seen taking off his coat and beret. He then takes off his shirt and is seen with another shirt and trousers. — IANS