Turkey releases photo of Most wanted man following Istanbul attack
Tuesday, 03 January 2017

The main suspect in the Istanbul nightclub attack had previously fought in Syria for the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), according to a Turkish media report Tuesday. Turkish police also released a photo of the suspect. His name is Lakhe Mashrapov (28) from Kyrgyzstan. Over 10,000 policemen are searching for him.

The gunman remains at large following the New Year’s Eve attack at Reina nightclub that killed 39 people. ISIS has claimed it was behind the assault.

Prominent columnist Abdulkadir Selvi, who writes for Turkish newspaper Hurriyet and has extensive contacts in the ruling AKP party, said that the suspect had now been identified internally and that he had received training with ISIS through street fighting in Syria. The gunman had used tactics garnered in Syria in the nightclub attack, such as shooting from the hip, Selvi said.

Selvi added that the man had been “specially selected” to carry out the assault. “This specially trained terrorist has still not been detained and is still wandering dangerously among us,” he wrote.

Hurriyet’s English-language site cited security expert Abdullah Agar who said that the attacker was most likely a professional assassin because of the demeanor and conduct he displayed in the attack. He called him a “determined, faithful, practical, coldblooded expert” who “knows how to get results” and has “probably fired bullets in real clash zones.”

Turkish authorities are continuing to hunt for the suspect, identified in CCTV images, who they believe carried out the rampage with a long-barreled weapon before fleeing amid the carnage.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmas told a news conference Monday that authorities had found the suspect’s fingerprints and arrested eight other people in connection with the attack.

Kurtulmus did not specify where the fingerprints were discovered.

Haber Turk newspaper reported that he had arrived in the Turkish city of Konya with his wife and children on November 20, when his wife was detained and allegedly taken to Istanbul under investigation.


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