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Istanbul Nightclub Attack Suspect Abdulgadir Masharipov Caught In Turkey

He's been on the run since New Year's Day

17/01/2017 07:24 GMT | Updated 17/01/2017 07:33 GMT

The suspected Istanbul nightclub attacker has been caught in a police operation, according to Turkish media reports.

Officials have begun questioning Uzbekistan national, Abdulgadir Masharipov, who is alleged to have killed 39 people during a New Year’s attack in Turkey’s capital.

He was found hiding at a luxury residential complex after a long manhunt, reports AP.

Photographs from raids, widely published in the Turkish media, showed a bruised, black-haired man in a grey, bloodied shirt being held by his neck. NTV television said the gunman had resisted arrest.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said a man from Kyrgyzstan and three women - from Somalia, Senegal and Egypt - were also detained in the raid, while the gunman’s 4-year-old son was taken under protective custody.

The Islamic State group had claimed responsibility for the nightclub massacre, saying the attack in the first hours of Jan. 1 was in reprisal for Turkish military operations in northern Syria. The man identified as the suspect had been on the run since the attack.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Police officers take security measures after Masharipov's arrest.

 

Private NTV television said Masharipov and the four other suspects were being questioned at Istanbul’s police headquarters on Tuesday. Istanbul’s governor and police chief were scheduled to make a statement later on Tuesday.

Anadolu said police have also carried out raids on members of a suspected Uzbek IS cell in five Istanbul neighborhoods, and detained several people.

Authorities had set up a 1000-person force to capture the gunman, Anadolu said.

Hundreds of people were gathered at the upmarket Reina nightclub to celebrate the end of a tumultuous 2016 only to become the first victims of 2017. The gunman shot a police officer and a civilian outside the club, before storming the premises.

Most of the dead in the attack on the upscale club were foreign nationals, mainly from the Middle East.