Istanbul nightclub attacker says was
directed by Islamic State: report
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[January 18, 2017]
By Humeyra Pamuk
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - An Uzbek gunman who
killed 39 people in an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Day told police
he had to change target at the last minute to avoid heavy security and
acted with direct orders from Islamic State in Syria, a newspaper said
The gunman, named by the authorities on Tuesday as Abdulgadir
Masharipov, had initially been told to attack the area around the
central Taksim square and said his instructions came from Raqqa, a
Syrian stronghold of Islamic State, the Hurriyet newspaper cited him as
saying in police testimony.
"I came to Taksim on New Year's Eve but the security measures were
intense. It was not possible to carry out the attack," he was quoted as
"I was given instructions to search for a new target in the area. I
toured the coast at around 10 p.m. with a cab," he said, referring to
Istanbul's Bosphorus shore where the Reina nightclub is located.
"Reina looked suitable for the attack. There didn't seem to be many
Hurriyet did not say how it obtained the testimony and Reuters was not
immediately able to verify the report.
Masharipov was caught in a police raid late on Monday in Esenyurt, a
suburb on Istanbul's western outskirts, following a two-week manhunt. He
was captured with an Iraqi man and three women from Africa, one of them
On Jan. 1, he shot his way into the exclusive nightclub and opened fire
on New Year's revelers with an automatic rifle, throwing stun grenades
to allow himself to reload and shooting the wounded on the ground.
Islamic State claimed responsibility the next day, saying the attack was
revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria. Turkish troops
entered Syria last August to push Islamic State away from the border and
halt Kurdish militia advances.
Like many cities around the world on New Year's Eve, Istanbul had taken
additional security measures, deploying 25,000 police officers to try to
thwart attacks after a year of bombings by Islamic State and Kurdish
[to top of second column]
The alleged attacker of Reina nightclub, who is identified as
Abdulgadir Masharipov, is seen after he was caught by Turkish police
in Istanbul, Turkey, late January 16, 2017, in this photo provided
by Dogan News Agency. Dogan News Agency (DHA)/via REUTERS
Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said on Tuesday that Masharipov had
admitted his guilt and that his fingerprints matched those at the
Sahin described him as well-educated, able to speak four languages,
and said he had received training in Afghanistan.
(Editing by Nick Tattersall and Dominic Evans)
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