Two foreign nationals suspected of being connected to the killing of 39 people on New Year’s night in Istanbul, Turkey have been detained at Istanbul’s Ataturk international airport, Turkish media reported.
The recently reported arrests bring the total number of apprehended suspects to fourteen. Earlier on Tuesday, the Turkish media reported that twelve people had been detained as part of the ongoing manhunt.
Turkish police are “close” to identifying the man behind the Reina nightclub massacre in Istanbul, Turkish state broadcaster TRT World reported earlier in the day. Initial indications suggest the terrorist may be from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, or even the Xinjiang autonomous region of northwest China, the report said, citing police.
Kyrgyzstan’s national security committee is checking into information that could indicate a possible connection of one of its citizens to the Istanbul attack, its spokesman told RIA Novosti, adding that an official request has been submitted to the Turkish authorities regarding the case. Representatives of the Kyrgyz embassy in Ankara told Interfax that they had also submitted an inquiry to Turkish officials and law enforcement, but had so far received no confirmation that a Kyrgyz citizen is wanted in connection with the nightclub massacre.
A woman said to be the gunman’s wife is among those that have been detained suspected of being connected to the terrorist act, Dogan news agency said.
The woman and her husband arrived in Turkey from Kyrgyzstan in late November of last year with and two children, Turkish Hurriyet reported, citing IHA news agency. According to the report, the woman learned about the attack and her husband’s involvement from TV reports. She was quoted as saying that she had no idea her husband was involved with ISIS.
Meanwhile, security experts who studied the CCTV recorded footage of the rampage at the high-end nightclub, said the attacker “looked like a professional who received military training,” Hurriyet Daily reported.
Citing anti-terrorist expert Abdullah Agar, the Turkish newspaper said the gunman was “determined” and “knew how to get results.” “He had no hesitation in shooting at innocent people. He is absolutely a killer and he most probably shot at humans before,” Agar told the media.