Istanbul nightclub attacker arrived in Turkey from Syria
ISTANBULThe Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant who attacked Istanbul’s Reina nightclub arrived in Syria from Turkey, according to newly emerged details regarding the attack.
The date when he arrived in Turkey is unknown, but he was in the Central Anatolian province of Konya on Nov. 22, 2016, before heading to Istanbul to carry out the attack on Reina, which claimed the lives of 39 people.
According to the investigation, the attacker arrived in Konya with his wife and two children and hired a house there. His family members, whose identities remain hidden, have been detained by police.
“I learned about the attack from the TV. I didn’t know that my husband was an ISIL militant, let alone a sympathizer,” his wife reportedly said in her testimony.
Meanwhile, new details continue to emerge regarding the attack, with daily Habertürk releasing new footage of how the attacker arrived at the scene. In the footage he can be seen with his backpack and a cigarette while getting into a taxi at 11:58 p.m. from the Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul to head to Reina.
According to Turkish media reports, the attacker used a stun grenade while shooting at people. It has also been determined that he attached chargers to his weapon in order to shoot faster. Around 120 of the 180 bullets used were reportedly found inside the DJ cabin.
The authorities are evaluating how the attacker knew all of Reina’s exits, including the three secret doors known only by the personnel working there. He also knew that the guards of the nightclub were not carrying guns and that weapons were not allowed inside the club.
He did not enter the bathroom at any point as it was far from the entrance and he did not enter the kitchen when he was shooting because he was planning to hide there later on, Habertürk also reported, citing the investigation.
The attacker reportedly had no trouble escaping from the scene and the authorities are evaluating whether he received any help from the inside.
It previously emerged that he got into a cab after the attack and got out in Kuruçeşme, telling the driver that he had no money. According to newly emerged details, he asked to use the cell phone of the driver to call someone and the driver agreed to give it.
The driver was later detained and his testimony was taken by police. He reportedly said the attacker spoke Turkish.
Detentions have been carried out since the attack, mostly of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan citizens living in the Istanbul district of Zeytinburnu, where the police raided eight different addresses. Police also carried out operations in the Istanbul district of Başakşehir, and two foreign nationals were detained in connection to the Reina attack at Istanbul Atatürk Airport on Jan. 3.
Elsewhere, footage of the alleged attacker that he himself recorded in Taksim has emerged, in which he can be seen filming himself and the places nearby. Officials are now evaluating whether he was surveilling the area or sending ISIL a message to say he was in Taksim. Other footage that has emerged shows the attacker at an exchange bureau in the Istanbul neighborhood of Laleli.
Meanwhile, the initial autopsy reports on the victims of the attack have been completed. According to the reports, several people were killed with the same bullet, and the victims were mostly hit in their chests, heads and backs.
Nobody was killed due to jumping into the Bosphorus in order to escape the attack, according to reports.