Istanbul – Turkish police Monday captured the man believed to be responsible for the New Year’s Eve attack in an Istanbul nightclub, which left at least 39 people dead, according to Turkish state media.
The main suspect in the attack was taken alive, along with four other individuals after a police operation in Esenyurt, on the European side of the Turkish metropolis Istanbul, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Anadolu said Turkish authorities had identified the suspect as Abdulkadir Masharipov and the pro-government daily Sabah reported the man was an Uzbek national. The four others arrested included a man of Kyrgyz origin and three women of unknown background.
Sabah tweeted what it said was the first photo of the captured suspect, showing a bruised and bloody face resembling the person seen in a selfie video that emerged in the days after the attack, which showed the chief suspect walking around central Istanbul.
Police suspect the man of spraying bullets inside the waterfront Reina nightclub, killing mostly foreigners and wounding dozens more in an attack later claimed by the extremist group Islamic State.
Authorities have arrested about three dozen people around the country since the attack on the upmarket club which took place in the hours after revellers rang in the new year.
The arrest comes days after the manhunt led police to a house in which authorities found 150,000 dollars during a raid, Hurriyet and other Turkish media reported this week.
Police on Friday also arrested two foreign nationals from the Uighur ethnic group accused of being members of a terrorist organization and assisting in 39 counts of murder, according to Anadolu.