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Tue 17 Jan 2017 11:48 AM

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Turkish police capture New Year's nightclub attacker in Istanbul

Seven Saudi citizens, three Lebanese and a Kuwaiti citizen were among the 39 killed in the attack

Turkish police capture New Year's nightclub attacker in Istanbul
Flowers have been laid in front of the Reina night club, one of Istanbuls most exclusive party spots, early on January 1, 2017 after at least one gunmen went on a shooting rampage in the nightclub during New Years Eve celebrations. At least 39 people were killed when a gunman reportedly dressed as Santa Claus stormed an Istanbul nightclub as revellers were celebrating New Year, the latest carnage to rock Turkey after a bloody 2016. (Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkish police have captured the gunman who killed 39
people in an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Day after a two-week manhunt,
authorities said on Tuesday, seizing him with four other suspects at a hideout
in an outlying suburb of the city.

Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin named the man as Abdulgadir
Masharipov and said he was born in 1983 in Uzbekistan and received training in
Afghanistan. He had admitted his guilt and his fingerprints matched those at
the scene, Sahin said.

"He knew four languages and was well-educated,"
Sahin told a news conference after Masharipov's capture overnight.

There were strong indications he entered Turkey illegally
through its eastern borders in January 2016 and it was clear the attack was
carried out on behalf of ISIL, Sahin said.

Masharipov was seized with an Iraqi man and three women
from Africa, one of them from Egypt, in the Esenyurt district on Istanbul's
western outskirts.

"I congratulate our police who caught the
perpetrator of the Ortakoy massacre," Deputy Prime Minister Numan
Kurtulmus, who is also the government spokesman, said on social network

"Our war with terror and the powers behind it will continue
to the end," he added.

Dozens of people have previously been detained in
connection with the attack for which ISIL has claimed responsibility, saying it
was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.

On Jan. 1, the attacker shot his way into the Reina
nightclub then opened fire with an automatic rifle, reloading his weapon half a
dozen times and shooting the wounded as they lay on the ground.

Seven Saudi citizens, three Lebanese and a Kuwaiti citizen were among the 39 killed in the attack.

Masharipov was caught in an apartment at a housing
complex in Esenyurt at around 11 pm (2000 GMT) on Monday.

Dogan news agency published a photo of the alleged
attacker with a black eye, a cut above his eyebrow and bloodstains on his face
and t-shirt. It broadcast footage showing plain-clothes police leading a man in
a white t-shirt to a waiting car.

The suspect was being questioned at Istanbul police
headquarters, while other people were detained in raids across the city
targeting Uzbek ISIL cells, Anadolu said.

The shooting in Istanbul's Ortakoy neighbourhood, an
upscale district on the Bosphorus shore, came after a year in which NATO member
Turkey was shaken by a series of attacks by radical Islamist and Kurdish militants
and by a failed coup.

President Tayyip Erdogan has said the attack, which
targeted a club popular with local celebrities and moneyed foreigners, had been
being exploited to try to divide the largely Sunni Muslim nation.