What we know about the Gunman who killed 39 in a Turkish nightclub
Turkish authorities have arrested eight more people in connection with the New Year’s Eve massacre in Istanbul – including two foreign nationals at the city’s airport on Tuesday – but the suspected gunman who shot and killed at least 39 people in the Reina nightclub remains at large.
Here’s what we know so far:
- The authorities continue to search for the suspect, but despite releasing a picture Monday of the man they believe to be responsible, they have yet to name him officially.
- According to Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, a woman identified as the wife of the suspect told police she did not know her husband was a member of the Islamic State group, after they arrested her as part of the investigation. The paper didn’t name the woman or her husband.
- Authorities on Tuesday detained two foreign nationals at Istanbul airport as part of its investigation, though it didn’t release details of the pair’s nationality. Turkey’s airports and borders are on high alert as the authorities continue the manhunt. According to the state-run Anadolu Agency, another six people were arrested in raids Monday night.
- Turkish newspaper Haberturk reports that the attacker may have entered Turkey from Syria. Local media says the suspect, along with his wife and child, traveled to Istanbul on November 20. The couple then settled in the central town of Konya, which is where the woman was detained as part of the police investigation.
- Police said on Monday they were close to identifying the main suspect, having gathered fingerprint evidence and information about his basic appearance.
- The gunman may be a professional hitman. Anti-terror expert Abdullah Agar told the English-language Daily News that details of how the attack was carried out indicated the shooter “is absolutely a killer and he probably shot at humans before,” adding, “the attacker is a determined, faithful, practical, coldblooded expert and knows how to get results.”
- Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim slammed the Obama administration Tuesday for its support of Kurdish rebels. Yildirim claimed the White House had been funding terrorism by supporting Syrian Kurdish forces: “They are pretending to fight Daesh. Turkey is the only country that is leading a fight. The United States isn’t doing anything.” Yildrim added that he hopes President-elect Donald Trump can put an end to “this shame.”
- On Monday the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the mass shooting, which left 39 dead and dozens more injured, calling the Reina club a gathering point for Christians celebrating their “apostate holiday.” The terrorist group said the attack was retribution for ongoing Turkish military involvement in Syria.
Cover: ASSOCIATED PRESS