Istanbul nightclub attacker may have trained in Syria
ISTANBUL - Turkish authorities have identified the gunman responsible for the attack on an elite nightclub that killed 39 people celebrating New Year, the foreign minister said Wednesday.
"The identity of the person responsible for the Istanbul attack has been established," Mevlut Cavusoglu told Anadolu news agency during a televised interview.
He did not name the attacker or give any further details.
The gunman appeared to have been well versed in guerrilla warfare and may have trained in Syria, a security source and a newspaper report said on Tuesday.
The Haberturk newspaper said police investigations revealed that the gunman had entered Turkey from Syria and went to the central city of Konya in November, travelling with his wife and two children so as not to attract attention.
The assailant stormed the popular Reina nightclub on the Bosphorus and sprayed 120 bullets at terrified partygoers celebrating the start of 2017 on Sunday.
Of the 39 dead, 27 were foreigners including citizens from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia and Morocco.
The Islamic State group claimed the massacre on Monday, the first time it has produced such a claim for a mass attack in Turkey.
Since escaping from the club, the gunman has been on the run although authorities previously said they were seeking a suspected jihadist from Central Asia, reportedly from Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan.
According to Turkish media the attacker rented a flat in the central city of Konya before moving to Istanbul to carry out the attack.
Police detained 27 people as part of the attack investigation in the western city of Izmir on Wednesday, including women and children, who had travelled from Konya, the Dogan news agency said.
Video footage showed some of them being brought out of an apartment building to waiting vehicles.
Anadolu reported on Tuesday that 14 people had been detained over the attack while NTV reported that two foreign nationals had been detained at Istanbul's main airport.