2 foreigners arrested at Istanbul airport in nightclub massacre probe

Story highlights

  • At least 16 people detained so far
  • Gunman still on the loose

Istanbul (CNN)Turkish authorities arrested two foreign nationals at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport Tuesday in connection with the nightclub terror attack early New Year’s Day that left 39 people dead, state-run Anadolu reported.

There were no details available on their nationalities. A total of 16 people have been arrested in connection with the investigation so far, and Turkish authorities are still on the hunt for the gunman who carried out the attack at the Reina nightclub. Dozens more were wounded.
Police released this image from a selfie video shot by the terror attack suspect.

Suspect seen in selfie video

Monday, police released a video that the suspect apparently took of himself in a market near the nightclub. Neither his name nor his nationality have been released.
Laith Alkhouri, a director at Flashpoint, an American business risk intelligence company tracking terrorist and cyber threats, told CNN the “selfie video” featuring the alleged nightclub attacker in Taksim square was first posted on a pro-ISIS Telegram account before being broadcast by Turkish media.
He said that suggests the attacker was part of a network supportive of or linked to ISIS, and that he had shared the selfie footage with them before or after the attack.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted to Twitter, but the claim cannot be independently verified by CNN. It boasted about the first major terrorist attack of 2017.
“In continuation of the blessed operations which ISIS carries out against Turkey, a soldier of the brave caliphate attacked one of the most popular nightclubs while Christians were celebrating their holiday,” the statement read.

‘I prayed that it will end soon’

New details emerged about the gunman in Turkish media Tuesday. Police told Haberturk newspaper the attacker took a taxi from Zeytinburnu, a neighborhood near the Istanbul airport, to a district near the club. Haberturk reported the attacker put his backpack in the trunk of the taxi.
Nightclub attack: Full coverage
  • Manhunt underway for shooter
  • Dozens killed when gunman opens fire
  • Turkish news agency IHA reported that according to the taxi driver, the attacker got out of the vehicle in Ortakoy, about four minutes away from the nightclub.
    Surveillance video of the gunman showed him first shooting a security guard and police officer at the entrance of the nightclub.
    Then, according to an interview with the club’s DJ in the Turkish daily Hurriyet, the gunman stood near the DJ booth and started shooting. He changed magazines in the weapon several times and fired more than 100 bullets, Hurriyet said.
    “I prayed that it will end soon, then it ended,” the DJ told Hurriyet. “He possibly changed his clothes. We heard police 5-10 minutes later.”

    PKK denies involvement

    The militant Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, distanced itself from the attack on Monday.
    “No Kurdish forces have anything to do with this attack,” the PKK said. “The Kurdish freedom fight is also the fight for democratization of Turkey. That’s why we won’t target innocent and civilian people.”
    Those killed in the attack were from 14 countries, including India, Morocco, Jordan, Canada, Russia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

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    gabugo

    Author, Pastor, Development and Valuation Surveyor, CEO LandAssets Consult Ltd., Publisher, The Property Gazette.

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