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20 ISIS Members Arrested, 14 Suspects Linked to Reina Murderer Land in Jail | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Protesters hold a banner that reads “ISIS will lose, our people will win” on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul. Ozan Kose / AFP – Getty Images

Ankara- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan chaired on Tuesday the first meeting for the Turkish National Security Council in 2017.

The council emphasized the country’s commitment to combating terrorism in Turkey and abroad.

Sources said that the council also pledged to remain steadfast in the fight against terrorism in cooperation between different state agencies.

In a related matter, Turkish security forces have arrested 20 people suspected of belonging to ISIS. Also, a court in Istanbul issued prison sentences against 14 ISIS members linked to the Reina nightclub attack murderer.

Turkish media published on Tuesday new confessions of Abdulgadir Masharipov who killed 39 people and injured 65 others in the attack on the nightclub in Istanbul.

The list of potential targets on New Year’s Eve included three locations, according to investigation sources — One of them was the office of daily Cumhuriyet newspaper in Istanbul.

When the Cumhuriyet address was given to Masharipov, it was defined as “the newspaper that insulted the prophet.” But it was decided not to attack the paper because not too many people were there on New Year’s Eve, according to investigators.

The murderer confessed that he checked three different addresses on Dec. 31. He went to Taksim Square and told his partners in Syria that the area would not be suitable for an attack due to strict security measures and low turnout because of the rain.

Masharipov contacted the “emir” in Syria’s Raqqa, who wanted to stage an attack that would be heard worldwide, and Reina was finally selected as the best target. He received pictures of the nightclub, showing revelers dancing and having fun, noting that the communication method used was telegram.

The interrogation showed no involvement of anyone from inside the nightclub.