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Turkey Arrests Suspected Shooter in Reina Nightclub Attack

Update: The Governor of Istanbul now says the suspect Masharipov has confessed and was definitely acting for ISIS. No mention of an outside intelligence agency being involved.

Turkish police and intelligence agents arrested the suspected shooter in the New Year's Eve massacre at the Reina nightclub. He is Abdulgadir Masharipov, a native of Uzbekistan. Police have had him under surveillance for the past 5 days.

Here's the weird part. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş today said the Reina nightclub shooting was not just an ISIS attack, but a coordinated intelligence attack using a paid ISIS terrorist (Masharipov). He said the shooter was motivated by money, not ideology. Police recovered $150,000 at the scene of the arrest, which they believe is the amount he was to be paid. [More...]

It appears the Reina attack was not just a terrorist organization’s act, but there was also an intelligence organization involved. It was an extremely planned and organized act,” Kurtulmuş said during an interview.

Meanwhile, Istanbul police found 150,000 dollars in a raid at an address in the Silivri district of Istanbul. Police suspect that the money was the amount to be given to the assailant of the Reina attack, daily Hürriyet reported.

Turkey also claims to have separately arrested the ISIS leader in Istanbul:

Meanwhile, police reportedly revealed the connections of 20 suspects who were detained in the Aegean province of İzmir with alleged links to the Reina attacker, one of whom was the Istanbul leader of ISIL.

Police have focused on the possibility that the Reina attacker and ISIL’s regional leader could be in the same cell after the investigation of phone conversations.

There's quite an assortment of inquiries being made:

Turkish intelligent units also contacted authorities in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Dagestan, Xinjiang, Morocco and some European countries regarding Masharipov.

Here's a short video of police leading him to the police car. Check out the cop or agent who runs along side them and then swings around for no apparent reason (he's not resisting, his head is down, he's being led by a phalanx of cops.) I wonder if that's when his face got so bruised. This clip shows it even clearer. He was taken to the hospital for observation before being brought to the jail.

ISIS took credit for the attack. His "code name" was reportedly Ebu Muhammed Horasani.

The latest version seems to be that Masharipov and his family had been renting a house in Istanbul’s Başakşehir section since mid-December. (Prior to that they had been in Konya, Turkey, and before that, in Syria.) After the Reina attck, Masharipov first went to a house in the Zeytinburnu section, where he had his wife and children brought. He left with just his son. His wife was detained by police on Jan. 11, and daughter removed to social services.

Previous reports have said that after attacking Reina, Masharipov went to Zeytinburnu with a taxi and asked workers at a local Uighur restaurant to give money to the driver. Uighurs were among those detained after the attack, while the owner of the restaurant, identified as Şemsettin Dursun, has denied any connection to the attack.

There were four prior attempts to grab him but he got away each time. The location of the house he was arrested at today was in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul. His son was there. Also arrested with him were a male from Kyrgyztan and three women, from Somalia, Senegal, Egypt.

So what happened to the two Chinese Uighurs arrested for the Reina attack on January 14?

Two 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....

Are they suspected of providing Masharipov with the weapon he used? This article says they were arrested for aiding and abetting.

In all, more than 35 people have been detained in connection with the attack.

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