Reina nightclub attacker Abdulgadir Masharipov, who killed 39 people in a nightclub attack in Istanbul on New Year's Eve, has been captured by Turkish security forces late Monday.
The Uzbek attacker was caught in a Daesh terror cell in Esenyurt district of Istanbul after a weeks-long intense hunt conducted by the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) and Istanbul police.
The Daesh terrorist was transferred to Istanbul Police Headquarters. The moment when the terrorist and his Kyrgyz friend sheltering him was caught on camera.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin confirmed that the Reina nightclub attack assailant is Abdulgadir Masharipov, who was born in Uzbekistan in 1983. Şahin said that Masharipov was trained in Afghanistan, and that he is a professional terrorist who knows four languages.
Şahin stated that Masharipov admitted carrying out the terror attack on the nightclub, killing 39 people.
Answering a reporter's question regarding the links of the terrorist, Şahin said that the police is assessing further intelligence but it is very clear that this attack was carried out on behalf of Daesh terrorist group. He said that it is too early to tell whether he was linked to another group or whether another foreign intelligence agency was involved with the attack.
According to reports, Masharipov's 4-year-old son was with him in the cell during the arrest. But Şahin said that Masharipov's son was not with him when he was caught. Four other people, including a man of Iraqi origin and three women from Egypt, Senegal and Somalia, were detained along with Masharipov, Şahin said.
He added that police seized $197,000 from the house that Masharipov was captured in.
Police have been after the terrorist since January 1. Security forces have previously raided a house in Istanbul's Maltepe district and detained Masharipov's wife, whose identity has been kept hidden. Previous reports stated that his wife and his family members had been detained by police after the attack.
The details behind the attack are expected to be revealed soon as the police captured the terrorist alive.
"I learned about the attack from TV. I didn't know that my husband was a Daesh terrorist, let alone a sympathizer," media reports had quoted his wife as saying.
After staging the attack on the nightclub, the terrorist went to a house in Zeytinburnu, where his wife and children were brought to. Masharipov then took his 4-year-old son and went missing.
"We said goodbye to each other and he left the house," Masharipov's wife told anti-terror police during her interrogation.
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.