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2 arrested in connection to Reina nightclub massacre in İstanbul

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With the gunman of the Reina nightclub attack on New Year’s Eve still on the loose, two men who reportedly rented an apartment with the prime suspect, Abdulgadir Masharipov, in the Central Anatolian province of Konya were arrested on Friday night.

Suspects Omar Asim and Abuliezi Abuduhamiti — Uighurs holding Chinese citizenship — were arrested in İstanbul on charges of membership in a terrorist organization and accomplices to murder.

The prosecutor’s office said in the request for the arrest warrant that the suspects had signed a lease with the gunman. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the Reina attack. Masharipov was called “Ebu Muhammed Horasani” by ISIL.

According to the prosecutor, the suspects shipped a gun secreted in pasta box from Konya to Masharipov in İstanbul.

Uzbek citizen Masharipov, the prime suspect in the Reina nightclub massacre on Jan. 1, fled with his son, the Hürriyet newspaper reported earlier.

According to the report, Masharipov’s wife was apprehended by police in İstanbul’s Maltepe district. Police sources noted that after the nightclub attack, in which 39 people were killed, Masharipov fled with his 4-year-old son, leaving his wife and 18-month-old daughter behind.

Police information indicates that Masharipov and his family arrived in Konya province at the beginning of 2016, and at the end of December they moved to another home in the Başakşehir district of İstanbul. His wife told the police that he bade farewell and left a house in the Zeytinburnu district of İstanbul, where he had met with his family, before the attack. Masharipov then returned to the house and left with his son aged 4 the same day. According to the report, police have taken Masharipov’s daughter under protection.

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