Two Uighurs arrested in Reina attack probe
ISTANBULTwo Chinese nationals of Uighur origin have been arrested in connection with a mass shooting in a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The suspects, named as Omar Asım and Abuliezi Abuduhamiti, were arrested on charges of “being members of a terrorist organization”, of “purchasing unlicensed firearms” and “being accomplices to the murder of 39 people,” state-run Anadolu Agency cited a prosecutor as saying.
A witness in the central Anatolian city of Konya had reportedly seen Asım with the Reina nightclub attacker, later identiefied as Uzbek national Abdulgadir Masharipov, who uses the code name “Ebu Muhammed Horasani.”
The gunman remains at large despite a massive manhunt.
Masharipov’s wife was detained in Istanbul’s Maltepe late on Jan. 11, while his 1.5-year-old daughter was taken under protection. Police said Masharipov arrived in the Central Anatolian province of Konya with his two children at the beginning of 2016.
Uighurs are Turkic-speaking Muslims from the restive Xinjiang region of far-western China.
The killer slipped into the night after mowing down 39 revellers at the Reina nightclub just 75 minutes into 2017.
At least 35 people have been detained so far in connection with the attack, according to Anadolu.
Of the 39 killed in the glamourous nightclub on the shores of the Bosporus, 27 were foreigners including citizens from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq and Morocco.
ISIL claimed the nightclub massacre, the first time it has ever clearly claimed a major attack in Turkey despite being blamed for several strikes including the Istanbul airport bombings.