İstanbul Governor Vasip Şahin has announced that Abdulkadir Masharipov, the prime suspect in a Jan. 1 massacre at the Reina nightclub in İstanbul who was arrested in a police operation on Monday night, has confessed that he perpetrated the deadly shooting.
His fingerprints match those found by the İstanbul police, the governor added.
Masharipov, an Uzbek citizen who is accused of killing 39 people at the nightclub with an automatic weapon, was apprehended in a joint operation carried out by the İstanbul police and Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in İstanbul’s Esenyurt district.
Şahin said the attacker, codenamed Ebu Muhammed El Horasani Abdulkav, was born in Uzbekistan in 1983, was trained as a militant in Afghanistan and speaks four languages.
The governor noted that Masharipov likely entered Turkey illegally from an eastern province in January 2016.
According to the governor, “it is clear that [Masharipov] staged the attack on behalf of [the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant] ISIL.”
A total of $190.000 in cash, two guns and two drones were also seized during the operation, Şahin added.
Along with Masharipov, “one man of Iraqi origin and three women of Egyptian and African origin” were also detained, he said.
The joint operation was conducted with the participation of 2,000 police officers with the help of police in the provinces of Konya, Hatay and İzmir, Şahin said, adding that around 7,200 hours of surveillance camera footage have been examined in the investigation.
The governor said an investigation is still under way to reveal Masharipov’s connections.