Turkish authorities have identified the gunman who shot dead dozens of people in an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Day as an Uzbek national who is a member of the Islamic State.
Abdulkadir Masharipov, 34, received logistical support for the attack from an ISIS cell based in the Central Anatolian province of Konya, the Hurriyet Daily News reported on Sunday.
Masharipov, who is code-named “Ebu Muhammed Horasani,” remains at large despite a nationwide manhunt launched on Jan. 1.
Police have accused Masharipov of killing 39 people and wounding 65 others at the upscale Reina nightclub. Most of those killed were foreigners primarily from Middle Eastern nations.
The National reported from Istanbul:
Survivors, who hid on top of a large industrial freezer, said the gunman entered the nightclub kitchen after the killings, and spent 30 minutes wiping fingerprints from his AK-47 assault rifle before leaving it behind, along with his coat. He changed clothes, put on a Santa Claus hat and blended into the panicked crowd–smearing himself with blood on his chest, and limping.
Turkish authorities released images of the attacker last week, including a selfie video of the attacker circling Istanbul’s central Taksim Square. It is unclear whether the video was taking prior or after the New Year’s attack.
Amaq news agency, the media arm of ISIS, released a statement calling the gunman a “soldier of the caliphate” one day after the attack.