01/17/2017, 09.14
TURKEY
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Istanbul: Masharipov, Uzbek jihadist behind New Year massacre, arrested

The police arrested the main suspect in the attack on the nightclub, which killed 39 people. He was in the suburban district of Esenyurt, hosted by other Islamic State militants. Relief and satisfaction of Turkish authorities. Deputy prime minister confirms: "Our war on terror continues".

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Turkish police have arrested the main suspect for the massacre carried out in the Reina night club on December 31 in Istanbul’s European quarter, which killed 39 people (27 foreigners) and wounded some 70 others. The detention of Abdulkadir Masharipov, of Uzbek origin and already identified in recent days by investigators as a wanted man, took place at the end of a massive manhunt.

Following the arrest, the police released a picture showing the suspect’s face massacred with bruises, wounds and blood stains on the shirt (pictured).

The man was identified and arrested in the Esenyurt district on the outskirts of Istanbul, along with his four year old son and five other people, all foreign: These include three women and a citizen of Kyrgyzstan, who hosted the bomber in the days following the massacre.

All those arrested - from Kyrgyzstan, Somalia, Egypt and Senegal - have ties with the Islamic State (IS). The jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack on Reina, stating that it is a response to the Turkish military involvement in Syria.

Several times, in the hours following the attack, rumors had circulated about the identification of the author of the massacre, later quashed for lack of concrete evidence. Local sources said that he hid for several days in the house where he was found and arrested in the European periphery of the Turkish metropolis. The apartment is an Islamic State hideout and even the three persons detained along with Abdulkadir Masharipov  are believed to be jihadist militants.

Hurriyet newspaper writes that Masharipov reportedly arrived in Istanbul from the province of Konya on December 15. He came to Turkey together with his family at the beginning of last year and assumed the nom de guerre of Ebu Muhammed Horasani. The Turkish newspaper adds that an Uzbek Daesh cell [Arabic acronym for the Islamic State] in Konya provided support to the attacker.

The arrest of the Uzbek jihadist came after a massive manhunt lasting more than two weeks and which had already led to several arrests. The fear was that the bomber could flee the country, finding refuge in one of the territories between Iraq and Syria controlled by the Islamic State.

The day after the arrest, the Turkish authorities expressed their satisfaction and relief, although there is still one basic problem: How to provide security to its citizens, affected by the numerous attacks that have bloodied. In a message on social media Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus confirmed that "our war on terror and the forces behind it will continue until the end."

Last year, Turkey experienced a series of bloody attacks, which began on February 17 with the assault on a military convoy in Ankara. On March 13, 37 people died in a suicide attack by Kurdish militiamen in the capital. Again, on June 28 a bomb attack - perhaps at the hands of the Islamic State – on Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul killed 41 people. On August 20, a bomb attack on a wedding party in Gaziantep, left at least 30 victims. Finally, the attack of Kurdish militiamen in a police convoy outside the stadium of Besiktas, in Istanbul, on 10 December last year, which caused 44 deaths.

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