Saturday, December 5th, 2020
  
 

Diners shot in Istanbul restaurant

Officials say they have identified the gunman and detained 20 others over the Istanbul nightclub massacre.

A Turkish special security force member patrols near the scene of the Reina nightclub. Picture: AP/Emrah Gurel

A GUNMAN has reportedly entered a restaurant in Istanbul’s Fatih district and opened fire on diners.

According to CNN Turkey at least two people have been injured in the shooting.

The shooting comes as Turkish authorities continue to hunt the man who killed 39 people in the Reina nightclub shooting, which occurred days ago. This latest incident is thought to be isolated.

The new photo released by Turkish police and taken from Dogan News Agency. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

TWENTY DETAINED AS MANHUNT CONTINUES

Police have increased security around Istanbul and detained some 20 people with suspected links to the deadly New Year’s Eve nightclub attack as the hunt for the gunman stretched into a fourth day.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the gunman had been identified, but did not name him.

But the prime suspect was named in Turkish media as Lakhe Mashrapov. TRT TV said Mashrapov, 28, was from the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan.

Police set up checkpoints across Istanbul as security levels remained high. They stopped cars and taxis, with passengers and drivers holding up their identifications while officers inspected the vehicles.

Turkish special security force members have set up checkpoints across Istanbul. Picture: AP/Emrah GurelSource:AP

The city has been on edge since the attack on the upscale club popular with local celebrities, and on Wednesday residents beat up a man said to resemble the wanted gunman before handing him over to police, the Dogan news agency reported.

Some 20 people, including 11 women, were taken into custody in police raids in the Aegean port city of Izmir, the state-run Anadolu agency said. The suspects, from the largely Muslim Russian republic of Dagestan, as well as members of China’s Muslim Uighur minority and from Syria, were believed to have lived with the gunman in an alleged IS cell house in the central Turkish city of Konya, the agency reported. Some 20 children who were with the detainees were also taken to a police station.

Among those most detained were seven Uighurs suspected of giving money to the gunman after the attack for him to pay his taxi fare, according to the Haber Turk newspaper.

Friends and relatives carry the coffin of Abis Rizvi for burial at a graveyard in Mumbai, India. Picture: AP/Rafiq MaqboolSource:AP

Semsettin Dursun, the owner of an Istanbul restaurant where the Uighurs worked, confirmed that some staff were detained but dismissed claims they were involved. “They are innocent,” Dursun told reporters. “That is the taxi driver’s claim. It is a single taxi driver’s claim. We don’t accept it. There is no other evidence.”

At least 16 people were previously detained in connection with the massacre.

IS has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in reprisal for Turkish military operations against IS in northern Syria. Of those killed, 27 were foreigners — many from the Middle East.

In his first public address to the nation since the killings, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the attack aimed to set Turks against each other and deepen fault lines, but warned the country would not fall “for this game.”