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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, February 19, 2018

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Turkey nightclub gunman an “ISIS extremist married with two kids"

Turkish police have also launched raids in Istanbul and arrested 14 people

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ISTANBUL, Turkey - The hunt for the attacker who killed 39 people and wounded several others in a popular Turkey nightclub has intensified and the man behind the massacre has been identified, according to reports.> BNN

The attacker is believed to be Islamic state terrorist Iakhe Mashrapov, a 28-year-old from Kyrgyzstan. 

Pictures on social media also show a page which is allegedly from his passport.

His wife, meanwhile, has claimed she had 'no idea' her husband was an ISIS sympathizer and only found out about the carnage when it was aired on television.

Turkish police have also launched raids in Istanbul and arrested 14 people in connection with the crime. 

Anadolu Agency said on Tuesday all 14 were being questioned at Istanbul's main police headquarters, but did not provide details on the suspects or mention where they were taken into custody.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus vowed to "speedily" identify the suspect based on his fingerprints and physical description. 

Police also released new images said to be of the suspect.

Kurtulmus added that the country's state of emergency, which was already in place at the time of the attack, would be extended for as long as needed.

The suspect reportedly landed in Istanbul on November 20, 2016, boarding a plane from Kyrgyzstan with his wife and children.

From there he went with his family to the Turkish city of Konya. 

When police released pictures of the suspect, his neighbours in Konya called a police hotline and identified him, leading investigators to the family home, police added.

Turkish media also ran a “selfie video” of the suspected gunman, in which he is himself at Taksim Square in Istanbul.

Meanwhile, according to a report in the Hurriyet daily, the suspect who still remains on the run fought in Syria for Islamic State jihadists and is "a professional who received military training on how to use a weapon," showing signs of being well trained in the use of arms. 

The English-language Daily News also quoted anti-terror expert Abdullah who said the gunman operated in a way that shows "he is absolutely a killer and he probably shot at humans before."

Agar also said "the attacker is determined, faithful, practical, cold-blooded expert and knows how to get results... he probably fired bullets in real clash zones."

Some 600 revellers were in the Reina nightclub early on Sunday when the gunman attacked, proceeding to spraying over 120 bullets from his Kalashnikov before disappearing into the night. 

The Islamic State released a statement on Monday, saying that "a heroic soldier of the caliphate struck one of the most famous nightclubs where the Christians celebrate their apostate holiday" in Turkey.

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