Istanbul Attack: ‘Gunman Selfie Video’ Released By Turkish Media

The camera never leaves the man's unsmiling face during the 44-second video.

Footage of a man suspected to be the Islamic State gunman who killed 39 people in a nightclub on New Years Eve has been broadcast by Turkish state media.

The grim “selfie” video shows the suspect as he circles Istanbul’s most famous square.

The camera never leaves the man’s unsmiling face as he walks through Taksim square, one of Istanbul’s prime tourist spots, during the 44-second video aired on Tuesday on state-run Anadolu television and other media.

It it not known how the footage was obtained
It it not known how the footage was obtained

It wasn’t immediately clear if it was filmed before or after the New Year’s massacre at the Reina nightclub, or how the footage was obtained.

The gunman is still at large. Authorities haven’t publicly identified him, and police denied that Kyrgyz passport information circulating in Turkish media belonged to the gunman.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on Monday, saying a “soldier of the caliphate” had carried out the mass shooting to avenge Turkish military operations against IS in northern Syria.

A mourner lays flowers front of the Reina nightclub on January 2, 2017 in Istanbul, one day after a gunman killed 39 people
A mourner lays flowers front of the Reina nightclub on January 2, 2017 in Istanbul, one day after a gunman killed 39 people
YASIN AKGUL via Getty Images

At least 14 people have been detained in connection with the attack.

Hurriyet newspaper said that a woman identified by Turkish media as the wife of the massacre suspect has told police she didn’t know her husband was an IS member.

The woman was detained in the central town of Konya as part of the investigation. Neither she nor her husband has been identified by name. Hurriyet said on its online edition on Tuesday that the woman said she learned about the attack on television and told police she didn’t know her husband harbored “sympathies toward” IS.

The Reina nightclub
The Reina nightclub
Umit Bektas / Reuters

Media reports say the gunman flew to Istanbul from Kyrgyzstan with his wife and children on November 20. From there, they drove to the Turkish capital, Ankara, before arriving in Konya on November 22.

The family rented a studio in Konya, paying three months of rent upfront. The gunman told the real estate agent he had arrived in Konya in search of work, according to the report.

Hurriyet said the gunman returned to Istanbul on December 29.

Several media outlets on Monday, citing unnamed security sources, said the man was believed to be from Central Asia and may have been part of the cell that staged a June attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport that killed 45 people.

Haber Turk newspaper on Tuesday said the man is thought to be a member of China’s Muslim Uighur minority.

The nightclub assailant, armed with a long-barreled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian in the early hours of 2017 outside the club before opening fire on the estimated 600 people inside. The establishment is frequented by famous locals, including singers, actors and athletes. Most of the dead on Sunday were foreign tourists.

Turkey has been rocked by violence in the past year, much of it blamed on IS. The government survived a failed coup over the summer and is also fighting against Kurdish insurgents. Parliament votes on Tuesday on whether to extend the state of emergency declared after the coup attempt.

The country launched an offensive to northern Syria in August in hopes of clearing a strategic border area of IS militants and stemming the gains of Kurdish fighters. Turkish jets regularly bomb IS targets in the Syrian town of al-Bab in support of Syrian opposition forces try to re-capture it from the extremists.


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