The attacker who killed 39 people on New Year’s night at an Istanbul nightclub may be tied to a Central Asian Islamic State (IS) group.
Turkish newspapers are reporting that intelligence services and anti-terror police in Istanbul have identified the shooter as a 34-year-old Uzbek jihadist who is allegedly part of a Central Asian IS cell.
According to The Hurriyet Daily and other Turkish newspapers, intelligence services and anti-terror police have said the nightclub attacker allegedly goes by the code name of Ebu Muhammed Horasanni. However, there still isn’t any official confirmation of the newspapers’ reports.
IS militants from Central Asia’s Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as well as Russia Muslim regions such as Dagestan and Chechnya, are believed to have played a key role in the triple suicide bombings and gun attack at Istanbul’s main airport in June.
Istanbul’s Reina nightclub shooter is still at large, after killing 27 foreigners and 12 Turkish nationals just 75 minutes into 2017.
Last week, the Turkish police released photos of the shooter, along with a silent video the killer allegedly made of himself with a selfie-stick while in central Istanbul.
The IS extremist group claimed responsibility for the Istanbul nightclub attack, which is the first time it has clearly claimed a major attack in the country, although they are blamed for several strikes and airport bombings.
The suspect’s selfie video can be seen below:
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