Turkey captures suspected Istanbul nightclub attacker

Istanbul, TurkeyUpdated: Jan 17, 2017, 04:59 AM IST
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The attack on the Reina nightclub early on New Year's Day left 39 people dead and 65 injured after a gunman walked in and started shooting. Photograph:(AFP)

Turkey has captured the suspected Istanbul nightclub attacker after a massive manhunt. 

Abdulkadir Masharipov, who is believed to be behind the attack, was found along with his four-year-old son in an apartment in Istanbul's Esenyurt district, reported TRT. 

Anadolu said a total of five people were detained in the operation, including three women.

Masharipov has been taken to police headquarters in Istanbul for questioning.

The manhunt had been underway for two weeks after he slipped away following the incident. Previous reports had suggested that he never left the metropolis prompting fears in the city.

Reports say that the attacker had been identified earlier but the police wanted to track his contacts.

His son is under proetction.

Turkish media reports had said that the gunman was a well-trained killer who had fought for IS in Syria and had gained weapons expertise there, reported AFP.

Intelligence services and anti-terror police in Istanbul had identified him as a 34-year-old Uzbek, reports said on Jan.8. Initial reports had suggested that the assailant was a Kyrgyz national and then a Uighur from China.

The state run Anadolu news agency identified the detained man as Abdulgadir Masharipov.

Andalou reports that 35 people were detained in connection with the attack before the latest raid.

Thirty-nine people were killed and 65 injured after a gunman went on a shooting spree in the high-end Reina club where up to 700 people were ringing in the New Year. Turks, tourists from several Arab countries, India and Canada lost their lives in the attack.

The Islamic State had claimed responsibilty for the attack. In a statement circulated on social media, the jihadist group said one of the "soldiers of the caliphate" had carried out the attack on the Reina nightclub, saying the attacker used hand grenades and a gun.

Turkey faces multiple security threats. It has been hit by a series of bombings over the past 18 months, some of them blamed on Islamic State, others on Kurdish militants.