Alleged gunman arrested in Istanbul (image via Daily Sabah)
On Monday evening Twitter was awash with the first reports of the capture of a man suspected of killing 39 people and hospitalizing 69 others on New Years Day in an attack on the Reina nightclub in the Ortakoy district of Istanbul, see following link,
“Istanbul new year Reina nightclub attack ‘leaves 39 dead’
The Reina is situated on the shores of the Bosphorus. A policeman and security guard were among those killed. Partygoers both Turkish and foreigners were sprayed with bullets from a long barrelled gun in what appeared at that time to be an assault by a lone gunman. Some jumped into the water to try to escape. BBC reported, “citizens of Israel, France, Tunisia, Lebanon, India, Belgium, Jordan and Saudi Arabia were among the victims.”
Turkish media, Daily Sabah said last night, “the Uzbek attacker was caught in a Daesh terror cell in Esenyurt district of Istanbul after a weeks-long intense hunt conducted by the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) and Istanbul police.”
Sky Newsdesk reported,
“Istanbul governor has named New Year’s Day nightclub attacker as Abdulgadir Masharipov who was born in Uzbekistan and trained in Afghanistan. Istanbul governor says Abdulgadir Masharipov admitted he carried out the nightclub attack and it is clear it was on behalf of Islamic State.”
Governor Vasip Sahin told journalists, “The terrorist actually said that he did it.” Maharipov also operated under the name of Abu Muhammed Horasani according to officials.
The alleged gunman was arrested with 4 others according to Hurriyet. The detained man was described as an Islamic State militant of Uzbek nationality and was picked up along with 3 women and a man of Kyrgyz nationality. His 4 year old son was said to have been taken into “protective custody”. Other raids were also carried out.
Masharipov’s wife and family were reported as being previously arrested but his wife claimed not to know of his involvement with IS saying, “I learned about the attack from TV. I didn’t know that my husband was a Daesh terrorist, let alone a sympathizer,” according to media reports.
Photographs were circulated by the Turkish press in which Masharipov appeared cut and bruised with blood on his clothing.
The attack on the Reina was claimed by Islamic State who stated it was carried out “in continuation of the blessed operations that the Islamic State is conducting against Turkey, the protector of the cross”. Authorities now feel others may have had connections to the incident which may be far wider than one man.
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.