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Istanbul Gunman Possibly Trained in Syria

Istanbul Gunman Possibly Trained in SyriaIstanbul Gunman Possibly Trained in Syria

The gunman who killed 39 people in an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Day in an attack claimed by the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group appears to have been well versed in guerrilla warfare and may have trained in Syria, a newspaper report and a security source said on Tuesday.

The attacker, who remains at large, shot dead a police officer and a civilian at the entrance to the exclusive Reina nightclub on Sunday. He then opened fire with an automatic rifle inside, reloading his weapon half a dozen times and shooting the wounded as they lay on the ground, Reuters reported.

On Monday in a statement, IS claimed the attack saying the shooting was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.

"The assailant has experience in combat for sure ... He could have been fighting in Syria for years," one security source told Reuters, saying that he was likely to have been directed in his actions by the militant group.

The Haberturk newspaper said police investigations had revealed that the gunman had entered Turkey from Syria and went to the central city of Konya in November, traveling with his wife and two children so as not to attract attention.

CNN Turk said he was believed to be of Kyrgyz origin. Kyrgyzstan's security service said it was in touch with Turkish authorities and checking the reports, without giving further detail.

Turkish officials have not commented on the details of the investigation. But government spokesman, Numan Kurtulmus, said on Monday that the authorities were close to fully identifying the gunman, after gathering fingerprints and information on his appearance, and had detained eight other people.

A selfie video of the alleged attacker, apparently walking around Istanbul's central Taksim Square, was broadcast by Turkish news channels on Tuesday as police operations to try to track him continue.

 

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