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Istanbul Murderer Changed Plans at Last Minute | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkish police stand guard outside the Reina nightclub by the Bosphorus, which was attacked by a gunman, in Istanbul, Turkey, January 2, 2017. REUTERS/Yagiz Karahan

Ankara – The confessions of New Year’s Eve murderer, executor of Istanbul Reina nightclub attack, Abdulgadir Masharipov has revealed that he is a member of ISIS and was trained in al-Qaeda camps in Iraq.

Masharipov admitted that his main target was Taksim Square but plans changed due to intensive security measures and he chose Reina nightclub instead only two hours before the bloodbath, which killed 39 and injured 65.

He was spotted at Taksim Square with a selfie stick, but security bodies failed to determine the time pictures were taken.

Masharipov moved to Istanbul on December 16 and resided in a house that belongs to ISIS before moving to Zeytinburn two days before the attack.

The suspect confessed that he re-established contact with the person who gave him the order and they agreed that Taksim was not suitable for an attack. Then he was ordered to scout a new target in the area.

He later took a taxi for a tour along the shores of the Bosphorus when he spotted the Reina nightclub. “It didn’t look like security measures were high. I explained the situation to the person who gave me the order and told him that Reina was suitable.”

After receiving the green light, the suspect said he took a taxi to Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu, picked up the weapon from home and came back to attack Reina club.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said the authorities had used every mean available from cameras to digital data in order to trace the gunman.

In a related matter, Anadolu Agency reported from a security Uzbek official that Masharipov is on the wanted list in Uzbekistan for belonging to terrorist organizations.