Turkey identifies Istanbul nightclub attacker

Authorities, however, did not name the attacker and gave no further details

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Turkish authorities have identified the gunman responsible for the attack on an elite nightclub that killed 39 people celebrating New Year, the foreign minister said Wednesday. “The identity of the person responsible for the Istanbul attack has been established,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told Anadolu news agency during a televised interview.

He did not name the attacker or give any further details. The assailant stormed the popular Reina nightclub on the Bosphorus and sprayed 120 bullets at terrified partygoers celebrating the start of 2017 on Sunday.

Also read: How Saudi twins bid family farewell before they were killed in Istanbul

Since escaping from the club, the gunman has been on the run although authorities previously said they were seeking a suspected militant from Central Asia, reportedly from Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan.

According to Turkish media the attacker rented a flat in the central city of Konya before moving to Istanbul to carry out the attack. There were also press reports suggesting he appeared to be well trained in the use of arms and had fought in Syria for ISIS.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says police have conducted more raids in their hunt for the gunman that killed 39 people at an Istanbul nightclub, detaining several people.

Anadolu Agency said Thursday that anti-terrorism teams, acting on tips, conducted raids in Istanbul’s outskirts, detaining a number of people from China's Muslim Uighur community. The report didn't provide any numbers, but said they were suspected of "aiding and abetting" the gunman.

At least 39 other people are already in custody over suspected links to the attack on Istanbul’s upscale Reina nightclub during New Year's celebrations.

The ISIS group has claimed responsibility for the massacre, saying it was in reprisal for Turkish military operations in northern Syria.

The government says the gunman, who reportedly escaped in a taxi, has been identified.

(With AFP and AP)

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