The gunman behind the Istanbul nightclub shooting, in which 39 people were killed, has been identified as a jihadist from Uzbekistan who is a member of the Islamic State group, according to Turkish media reports. The assailant, who has yet to be caught, is believed to have the code name Ebu Muhammed Horasani within the terror outfit, AFP reported.
There had been speculation over the shooter’s identity – he was earlier believed to be a Kyrgyz national. On January 4, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had confirmed that authorities had identified the assailant behind the New Year’s attack, two days after officials had released his photo. The gunman’s identity had not been revealed then.
The Islamic State group had claimed responsibility for the shooting in Istanbul’s famous Reina nightclub on January 1, in which dozens were injured. “A heroic soldier of the caliphate struck one of the most famous nightclubs where Christians celebrate their apostate holiday,” the extremist group had said.
On New Year’s Day, the attacker, dressed as Santa Claus, had fired indiscriminately at patrons at the club. Of the 39 dead, 27 were foreigners, including two Indians.