Turkish police catch Istanbul nightclub attacker: state TV

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ISTANBUL : Turkish police late Monday caught the attacker who shot dead 39 people on New Year’s night at an Istanbul nightclub in a massacre claimed by jihadists, state-run TRT television reported.

The alleged assailant was found along with his four-year-old son in an apartment in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul after a massive police operation, TRT reported.

The attacker had been on the run for over two weeks after the attack.

Reports had previously suggested he never left the metropolis, despite a tightening of borders in a bid to stop him escaping.

The Islamic State (IS) group took responsibility for the bloodbath, the first time it has ever openly claimed a major attack in Turkey. It had previously been blamed for several strikes including bombings at Istanbul airport.

The suspect was caught in an operation jointly carried out by the Turkish police and the spy agency MIT, Turkish TV said.

Dogan news agency published a picture of the detained man with blood on his face and T-shirt, his neck gripped by a policeman.

There had been confusion over the identity of the attacker in the wake of the massacre, with reports initially suggesting a Kyrgyz national and then a Uighur from China.

But reports on January 8 said intelligence services and anti-terror police in Istanbul had identified him as a 34-year-old Uzbek who was part of a Central Asian IS cell.

The state run Anadolu news agency identified the detained man as Abdulgadir Masharipov, while the Dogan news agency said he used the code name of Ebu Muhammed Horasani within IS. These are the same names given in the January 8 reports.

The suspect was living in an apartment rented by a Kyrgyz in Istanbul who was also detained, TRT reported. Anatolia said a total of five people were detained in the operation, including three women.

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