The roommate of Abdulgadir Masharipov, the notorious Daesh militant who gunned down 39 people at an Istanbul nightclub in 2017, was captured in the southern city of Adana yesterday.
The suspect, a Russian citizen of Chechen origin who is identified by his initials A.G., was planning to carry out an attack during New Year's celebrations, according to local media reports. Police suspect he is a member of Tahrir al-Sham, a terrorist group also known as the Syrian branch of al-Qaida, and he infiltrated into Turkey to carry out attacks.
A.G. had a fake Syrian ID on him when he was captured in Adana's Seyhan district. His connection to Masharipov, who is currently in prison in Istanbul, was established when his fingerprints matched those found in a house where Masharipov stayed in Istanbul's Başakşehir district.
Media outlets said the suspect joined al-Qaida in Chechnya in 2011 and left for Turkey in 2013 when Chechen security authorities issued an arrest warrant for him. He remained in hiding in Turkey before sneaking into Syria where he joined Tahrir al-Sham, the Demirören News Agency reported. He was last spotted in Egypt which deported him on suspicion that he was a foreign fighter for terrorist groups in 2017. He then entered Turkey secretly. Examining his cellphone photos, police found A.G.'s photos with fellow militants in Syria, as well as photos of homemade explosive devices.
Masharipov, an Uzbek citizen of Tajik origin, was captured days after he stormed the Reina nightclub on the shore of Bosporus during New Year celebrations, killing 39 revelers and security guards. He faces multiple life sentences in an ongoing trial in Istanbul, along with his accomplices in Daesh. Investigators have announced that Masharipov stayed in different houses in Istanbul during his brief time in Istanbul before the attack and changed location after the attack to dodge the police.
Tahrir al-Sham, another name for the al-Qaida-linked group formerly known as the Nusra Front, is one of the most powerful terrorist groups in Syria while Daesh has lost the majority of its strongholds in the war-torn country.