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Istanbul Attacker Identified as ISIS Uzbek Recruit | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In this undated photo obtained Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, a man believed to be the ISIS gunman who killed dozens at an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Eve films himself as he wanders near Istanbul’s Taksim square. (DHA-Depo Photos via AP)

Ankara- Turkish authorities revealed that the terror attacker responsible for New Year’s horrific shooting at an Istanbul nightclub has been identified. The assailant is responsible for the death of 39 people, who he shot to dead during the early hours of the New Year’s Day.

The man was identified by police on Sunday as a 34-year-old Uzbek who is part of a Central Asian ISIS extremist terror cell, the Hurriyet daily and other Turkish newspapers reported.

The attacker, who remains on the run, has the code name of Ebu Muhammed Horasani. There has been no official confirmation of the reports.

On Thursday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said that the attacker probably belonged to a Turkic ethnic group called the Uyghurs. Initial reports had said the attacker was a Kyrgyz national. Later reports said he was an Uyghur from China.

The people killed by the attack included more than 20 foreigners, and almost 70 were injured. The attacker is said to have opened fire from a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Ultra-hardline terror group ISIS has taken responsibility for the attack.

Turkish authorities have so far made 36 arrests suspected to be involved with the assailant. The gunman is suspected to have known in advance that the guards at the club were not allowed to carry weapons.

The pro-government Yeni Safak daily, citing security sources, recently reported that the attacker was believed to be hiding in a house in Istanbul.

Armed with a long-barreled weapon, the assailant first killed a policeman and a civilian outside the club before entering and shooting at some of the nearly 600 people inside.

Turkey has been hit by numerous acts of terror over the past year. ISIS has claimed most of the assaults.