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‘Istanbul’s Murderer’ Trained in Afghanistan and Fought with ISIS | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Masharipov was captured in a raid by security forces at a house in the residential Esenyurt district of Istanbul. Photograph: AP

Ankara- Turkish authorities announced on Tuesday that security apparatuses in Istanbul have captured the suspect behind a mass shooting at Istanbul’s Reina nightclub on New Year’s Day which left 39 people dead and 65 injured, including 27 Arabs and foreigners.

The suspect is an Uzbek national and Turkish authorities said he was trained in Afghanistan and had acted on behalf of ISIS.

The “Istanbul murderer,” Abdulgadir Masharipov, is known by the code name Abu Muhammed Horasani. He was captured late on Monday following an operation led by a counter-terrorism force at his apartment in the Esenyurt district on Istanbul’s western outskirts.

Four others, a man of Iraqi origin and three African girls, including an Egyptian, were arrested in the raid.

Security forces also confiscated one pistol, arms and seized $197,000 from his apartment.

Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said on Tuesday the suspect’s fingerprints matched those of the attacker, and confirmed he is an Uzbek national.

The governor said it was obvious the attack was staged on behalf of ISIS, but that police are still assessing related intelligence.

The ISIS terrorist was born in Uzbekistan in 1983, Sahin said.

“He was trained in Afghanistan and speaks four languages. He’s a well-trained terrorist,” said Sahin, adding that Masharipov is believed to have first entered Turkey in January 2016.

Turkish media outlets quoted officials as saying that ISIS in Syria trained the attacker on the use of weapons.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim confirmed the gunman was captured. “The terrorist responsible for New Year’s Eve attack was arrested in a police operation overnight. The investigation is still underway, so no further details will be released yet,” Yildirim said.

Turkey’s Dogan news agency reported that the attacker has been taken to the police headquarters in Istanbul for questioning while security forces conducted other operations in the city.

Sahin said during the massive manhunt operation, Turkish police had carried out several raids in each of Izmir on the Aegean coast, Konya in central Anatolia, and Hatay near the southern border with Syria.

Also on Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hailed from Ankara the arrest of the gunman and thanked Turkey’s security and intelligence agencies for their efforts.

“In this country, nobody will get away with what they have done,” Erdogan said. “Everyone will be brought to account within the rule of law.”