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Suspected Istanbul nightclub attacker caught in police operation, according to Turkish media

Suspected Istanbul nightclub attacker caught in police operation, according to Turkish media
A police vehicle blocks the road leading to the scene of an attack in Istanbul, Turkey, last month. (Associated Press)

The man suspected of killing 39 people during an attack on a nightclub in Istanbul during New Year's celebrations has been caught in a police operation, Turkish media reported early Tuesday.

The suspect was caught in a special operations police raid on a house in a housing complex in Istanbul's Esenyurt district, private NTV television said. The report said he had been staying in the house belonging to a Kyrgyz friend.

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Islamic State has claimed responsibility, saying the attack was in reprisal for Turkish military operations in northern Syria. The suspect had been on the run since the attack.

Hurriyet newspaper and other media have identified the suspected gunman as Abdulkadir Masharipov, an Uzbek national. He was to undergo medical checks before being taken to a police headquarters for questioning, the paper said in its online edition.

Dogan news agency published what it said was the first image of the suspected attacker. It showed a bruised, black-haired man in a gray, bloodied shirt being held by his neck. NTV television said the man had resisted arrest.

The Istanbul nightclub shooting suspect after being caught by Turkish police in Istanbul, late Monday.
The Istanbul nightclub shooting suspect after being caught by Turkish police in Istanbul, late Monday. (Depo Photos via AP)

NTV reported that the gunman's Kyrgyz friend and three other people also were detained. His 4-year-old child, who was with him at the home, was taken into protective custody.

The television channel said police established the suspect's whereabouts four or five days ago, but delayed the raid so they could monitor his movements and contacts.

The state-run Anadolu Agency also reported the arrest and identified the suspected gunman, only with a slightly different spelling of his first name, Abdulgadir. It said a Kyrgyz man and three women were detained with him

Anadolu said the suspects were being taken to Istanbul's main police headquarters for questioning. Police were carrying out raids on other suspected Islamic State group cells, the news agency said without providing details.

Earlier in the day, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the Reina nightclub attack had been carried out professionally with the help of an intelligence organization, a claim he had made in the first days after the attack. He did not name the organization suspected of being involved.

Hundreds of people were gathered at the swanky Reina nightclub to celebrate the end of a tumultuous 2016 only to become the first victims of 2017. The gunman shot a police officer and a civilian outside the club, then stormed the premises.

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UPDATES:

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3 p.m.: This article was updated with more information about the arrest.

2:15 p.m.: This article was updated with the name of the suspect and more details of the capture.

This article was originally published at 1:40 p.m.

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