A number of people of Uighur ethnicity have been detained in Turkey over the deadly Istanbul’s Reina club attack that killed 39, the state-run news agency reports.
Those arrested are believed to have come from China’s Xinjiang region with ties to the attacker, Anadolu agency says.
Deputy PM Veysi Kaynak also said they were closing in on the attacker, who he said was possibly an ethnic Uighur.
Also on January 5, there was an explosion near the courthouse in the city of Izmir in western Turkey.
Social media images showed two vehicles ablaze and several people were reported wounded.
Other images showed what appeared to be the body of a man carrying a gun, amid media reports he was an attacker who was shot dead by police.
Anadolu reported a second man was shot dead and police were seeking a third.
ISIS says it carried out the Istanbul attack over Turkey’s military involvement in the Syrian civil war.
Turkish authorities have reportedly tightened security at the country’s land borders and airports to prevent the attacker from fleeing abroad.
Local media have run images of a suspect, saying the pictures were handed out by the police. But the police have given no official details.
The Turkish foreign minister has said the authorities have identified the gunman, but has not given further details.
Special forces made the early morning arrests at a housing complex in Selimpasa, a coastal town on the outskirts of Istanbul, after police were reportedly tipped off that individuals linked to the attacker were in the area.
Uighurs were among those detained – the number was not confirmed – on suspicion of “aiding and abetting” the attacker, Anadolu reported.
At least 36 people were already in custody over suspected links to the attack, many of whom were picked up in an earlier police operation in Izmir.
Several families had recently traveled there from Konya, a central city where the main suspect was said to have stayed for several weeks before the attack.
Separately, Veysi Kaynak told Turkish broadcaster A Hamer that the authorities knew where the suspect, who he described as “specially trained”, was hiding, without giving further details.
The deputy prime minister confirmed the attacker had acted alone, but may have had help inside Reina club.
Veysi Kaynak expressed confidence in the Turkish police operation but said he could not rule out the possibility of the attacker fleeing the country.
Previous media reports incorrectly suggested the attacker was a national from Kyrgyzstan, after a passport photo claiming to show the gunman was circulated.
It later emerged the passport belonged to someone unrelated to the attack.
Kyrgyzstan’s embassy in Turkey has since asked the media to retract the reports and issue an apology.
More than half of those killed in New Year’s attack on Istanbul’s popular Reina club were foreigners, including citizens from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq and Morocco.
The gunman managed to escape in the aftermath of the attack.
A day later, ISIS issued a statement saying “a heroic soldier” belonging to the group had carried out the attack in retaliation for Turkey’s military role in northern Syria.
Veysi Kaynak also said on January 5 Turks were questioning the use of the country’s Incirlik air base by both NATO and the US-led coalition launching air strikes on ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
Turkey launched a military operation in Syria in August to push back ISIS and Kurdish forces.
Some of Turkey’s big cities have since been targeted in a number of bomb attacks by ISIS and by Kurdish militants.
ISIS has claimed it was behind the New Year attack on Istanbul’s Reina club that killed 39 people in Turkey.
The Islamist group said in a statement it was carried out by “a heroic soldier”.
At least 600 revelers were celebrating in the early hours of January 1 at Reina club when the gunman began firing indiscriminately.
ISIS has been blamed for recent attacks in Turkey, which is taking military action against the group in neighboring Syria.
The group has already been linked to at least two attacks in Turkey in 2016.
Photo Getty Images
The ISIS statement accused Turkey of shedding the blood of Muslims through “its air strikes and mortar attacks” in Syria.
More details of the nightclub attack have been emerging. The attacker, who fired up to 180 bullets, arrived by taxi before rushing through the entrance with a long-barreled gun he had taken from the boot of the car.
The gunman fired randomly at people in an assault lasting seven minutes, starting with a security guard and a travel agent near the entrance. Both were killed.
The attacker is reported to have removed his overcoat before fleeing during the chaos.
Turkish media reports quote police sources as saying he may have been from Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan.
A manhunt is under way, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu confirmed, saying: “We hope the attacker will be captured soon.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused groups such as ISIS of trying “to create chaos”.
“They are trying to… demoralize our people and destabilize our country,” he said.
Turkey suffered a bloody 2016 with a series of attacks, some carried out by Kurdish militants.
However, a day before the ISIS claim, the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was quick to distance itself from Reina club attack, saying it would “never target innocent civilians”.
At least 25 of those killed were foreign, according to local media, among them citizens from Israel, Russia, France, Tunisia, Lebanon, India, Belgium, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Security guard Fatih Cakmak was among the first to die.
At least 69 people are being treated in hospital, officials said, with three in a serious condition.
Reina club, which sits on the banks of the Bosphorus, is one of Istanbul’s most fashionable venues – popular with foreigners and often frequented by singers and sports stars.
Over two hundreds people have been arrested in Turkey for acting on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the interior ministry says.
Among those 235 arrested are officials from the main Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
The arrests come two days after twin bomb attacks near Istanbul’s Besiktas stadium which killed 44 people.
Meanwhile, Austria says that talks with Turkey over membership of the EU should be suspended.
Image source RT
A statement from the interior ministry says the operation covered 11 provinces across Turkey from the northwest to the southeast, and targeted people suspected of “spreading terror group propaganda”.
It is not clear whether December 12 arrests were directly related to the bomb attacks.
Speaking in parliament, Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag said most of the 44 people killed on December 10 were policemen.
The Kurdish militant group TAK, an offshoot of the PKK, said in a statement it had carried out the attack.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on December 11 that Turkey would fight “the scourge of terrorism to the end”, and promised that the attackers would pay a “heavy price”.
Last month, 10 HDP lawmakers – including co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag – were arrested, causing international alarm.
Speaking ahead of a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said that Europe could no longer ignore President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on the opposition.
Turkish sources claim that the three men who carried out the deadly attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport on June 28 were all from parts of the former USSR.
One is said to be from Russia’s North Caucasus region and the others from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
Turkey believes ISIS was behind the suicide gun and bomb attack that left 44 people dead and some 240 injured.
Meanwhile, Turkish police detained at least 13 suspects in Istanbul and more in Izmir on June 30.
One image on Turkish media purported to show the three men together at the airport moments before the attack, wearing dark jackets and carrying hold alls. Two are wearing caps, one is smiling.
An unnamed Turkish official confirmed for Reuters news agency the dead attackers’ countries of origin after Turkish media reports.
Some agencies named one of the men as Osman Vadinov, said to have crossed into Turkey from the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria in 2015.
Reports that Osman Vadinov was a Chechen have been denied by an unnamed police source in the North Caucasus, Russia’s Interfax news agency reports.
The organizer of the attack has been named by Turkish media as Akhmed Chatayev, a Chechen believed to have acted as an ISIS recruiter, who is on a US counter-terror sanctions list. His fate was not immediately clear.
ISIS has long recruited members from mainly Muslim parts of the former USSR, with Russian President Vladimir Putin putting the overall number at between 5,000 and 7,000 in October.
However, data published by the Soufan Group security consultants in December suggests the numbers are lower: 2,400 from Russia and 500 apiece from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Turkey’s government has made no official statement on nationalities yet and no-one has said they carried out the attack on June 28.
PM Binali Yildirim said on June 29 that “our thoughts on those responsible for the attack lean towards Islamic State”.
At least 36 people have been killed and 147 others injured in a gun and bomb attack in Istanbul’s Ataturk international airport, officials say.
Three attackers began shooting outside and inside the terminal on the evening of June 28 and blew themselves up after police fired at them, officials say.
Turkey’s PM Binali Yildirim said early signs suggested ISIS was behind the attack.
Recent bombings have been linked to either ISIS or Kurdish separatists.
There are X-ray scanners at the entrance to the terminal but security checks for cars are limited.
Pictures from the airport terminal showed bodies covered in sheets, with glass and abandoned luggage littering the building.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attack should serve as a turning point in the global fight against militant groups.
“The bombs that exploded in Istanbul today could have gone off at any airport in any city around the world,” he said.
The US called the attack “heinous”, saying America remained “steadfast in our support for Turkey”.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: “We grieve for the victims. We stand by Turkey.”
Speaking several hours after June 28 attack, PM Binali Yildirim said at least 36 people were killed and many wounded, some seriously, with foreigners likely to be among the victims.
The prime minister said the attackers had arrived at the airport in a taxi.
Footage on social media shows one of the attackers running in the departure hall as people around him flee. He is shot by police and remains on the ground for about 20 seconds before blowing himself up. All three attackers were killed.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag put the number of injured at 147.
Taxis were used to rush casualties to hospital after the attack. Desperate relatives of those missing later gathered outside a local hospital where many victims were taken. Some expressed anger about the lack of information.
Flights in and out of the airport were suspended after the attack. The US Federal Aviation Administration initially grounded all services between the US and Istanbul but the stoppage was later lifted.
Flights have now resumed at the airport, but information boards showed about one-third had been cancelled, with many delays.
At least four people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack at a busy shopping area in the Istanbul, officials say.
Another 36 were injured – among them 12 foreign nationals – as the bomb went off near a government building on Istiklal Street.
No-one has admitted carrying out the attack, the latest to target Turkey in recent months.
The Turkish government has blamed Kurdish militants for previous attacks and has retaliated against them.
Today’s attack in Istanbul – Turkey’s largest city – occurred at about 11:00 local time.
Photo Getty Images
Three Israeli tourists were among those injured, local media report say. The Israeli foreign ministry has confirmed Israelis were wounded, but has not given the number or said what condition they are in.
Both ISIS and Kurdish militants have claimed recent attacks in Turkey.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said terror groups are targeting civilians because they are losing their struggle against Turkish security forces.
Turkey is part of the US-led coalition against ISIS and allows coalition planes to use its air base at Incirlik for raids on Iraq and Syria.
It has also been carrying out a campaign of bombardment against Syrian Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it regards as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
A two-year-old ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK broke down last summer.
Since then, more than 340 members of Turkey’s security forces have been killed along with at least 300 Kurdish fighters and more than 200 civilians.
The TAK (Kurdistan Freedom Hawks) was formed in 2004. It is regarded as the hard-line offshoot of the PKK, rejecting any attempt at ceasefire talks with the Turkish state.
The PKK has been fighting for autonomy for Turkey’s Kurdish minority for decades and has carried out regular attacks on Turkish security forces.
At least five people have been killed in three separate attacks in Turkey’s south-east and Istanbul.
Four police officers were killed by a bomb on a road in Sirnak province and shortly after, gunmen opened fire on a military helicopter, killing a soldier.
Tension between the Turkish government and Kurdish militants has been rising.
One of the Istanbul attacks, on the US consulate, was carried out by two women and linked to a far-left group.
One of the female assailants in Monday’s attack was wounded and detained, and a rifle and other weaponry were seized, Istanbul’s governor said in a statement.
She is said to be a member of a radical Marxist group, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP-C).
The DHKP-C previously claimed a 2013 suicide attack on the US embassy in the capital, Ankara.
The US consulate said in a tweet that it was closed until further notice.
In the other attack in Istanbul, on a police station in the district of Sultanbeyli, a car bomb was detonated, injuring 10 people, including three police officers.
Two suspected militants were killed in ensuing clashes with police and an injured police officer died later in hospital, reports say.
Following the attack on the military helicopter in Sirnak province, Turkish helicopters bombed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in retaliation.
A ceasefire in the long-running conflict with the group appeared to disintegrate in July, when Turkey began bombing PKK camps in northern Iraq, at the same time as launching air strikes on IS militants.
PKK leader Cemil Bayik has accused Turkey of trying to protect ISIS by attacking Kurdish fighters.
Kurdish fighters – among them the PKK – have secured significant victories against ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq.
Turkey, like a number of Western countries, considers the PKK a terrorist organization.
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