US forces kill ISIL militant linked to Turkey nightclub attack
WASHINGTON - Reuters
A police officer waits in front of the Reina nightclub in this file photo.The United States disclosed on April 21 a secret military ground operation that killed an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant seen as a close associate of the jihadist group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and linked to an attack on a Turkish nightclub that left 39 people dead.
Abdurakhmon Uzbeki, who was believed to be from Uzbekistan, was killed during the ground assault near Mayadin, Syria, on April 6, said Colonel John Thomas, a spokesman for the U.S. military's Central Command.
“It was a ground operation. I think that's all we're willing to say about that," Thomas said, declining further comment. He specified that Uzbeki did not die in an airstrike.
Thomas said Uzbeki helped facilitate the attack on the Istanbul nightclub Reina in Istanbul on New Year's Eve.
Uzbek-origin Abdulkadir Masharipov opened fire with an automatic rifle, throwing stun grenades to allow himself to reload and shooting the wounded on the ground. Among those killed in the attack were Turks and visitors from several Arab nations, India and Canada.
"We have clearly linked him with the New Year's Eve Istanbul bombing," Thomas said.