Istanbul nightclub attacker caught

  • 17/01/2017
Instanbul Turkey Police after the nightclub shooting (Reuters)
Instanbul Turkey Police after the nightclub shooting (Reuters)

Istanbul Turkish police have captured the man believed to be responsible for the New Year's Eve attack in an Istanbul nightclub, which left at least 39 people dead, according to Turkish media.

The main suspect in the attack was taken alive, along with several other individuals after a police operation in Esenyurt, on the European side of the Turkish metropolis Istanbul, the state-run Anadolu news agency reports.

Hurriyet newspaper website said the man, who police said had operated under the cover name Ebu Muhammed Horasani, was caught in an operation along with his son.

Police suspect the man of spraying bullets inside the waterfront Reina nightclub, killing mostly foreigners and wounding dozens more in an attack later claimed by the extremist group Islamic State.

Islamic State has previously said the attack was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria              

Pro-government daily Sabah tweeted what it said was the first photo of the captured suspect, showing a bruised and bloody face resembling the person seen in a selfie video that emerged in the days after the attack, which showed the chief suspect walking around central Istanbul.              

Local media reported he was of Central Asian decent and had arrived in Turkey from Syria.

Authorities have arrested about three dozen people around the country since the attack on the upmarket club which took place in the hours after revellers rang in the new year.

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.