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Campaign of Arrests in Istanbul but Shooter not yet in Custody | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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This image taken from CCTV provided by Haberturk Newspaper Sunday Jan. 1, 2017 shows the attacker shooting his way into the Reina (CCTV/Haberturk Newspaper via AP)

Ankara- Turkish authorities had until Tuesday night arrested 14 suspects as part of the probe into the New Year’s Day mass shooting in Istanbul’s Reina nightclub that left 39 people dead and 65 others injured. The arrests took place although the shooter remains at large.

Also, the Turkish authorities decided on Tuesday to provide an opposition leader with an armored car after receiving assassination threats.

Turkey’s police arrested on Tuesday two foreigners at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport’s international departures, in addition to 12 others who were taken into custody following the attack. But the man behind Sunday’s shooting was still nowhere to be found, except for some photos and selfie footage, released by Turkish authorities and which shows the alleged gunman strolling through Istanbul’s central Taksim Square. But, the time of the recording is still unknown, on whether it happened before or after the nightclub shooting.

According to media speculations and eyewitnesses, the shooter is a member of the ISIS organization operating in Syria and had received training on the use of weapons and urban warfare.

According to Turkish Hurriyet newspaper, “the attacker arrived in Konya with his wife and two children and hired a house there. His family members, whose identities remain hidden, have been detained by police.” Reports said the attacker hails from a central Asian state, such as Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan.

Turkey’s deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said following a cabinet meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the investigation was difficult, complicated and sensitive. He said authorities were close to identifying the gunman after obtaining his fingerprints and a description of his appearance, without elaborating.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim decided on Tuesday to provide main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kilicdaroglu with an armored car following reports of assassination plots against him.

Yildirim held a telephone call with Kilicdaroglu directly after the latter received the assassination threats on Dec. 31.