The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) terrorist who allegedly killed 39 people and injured 39 others at the famous waterfront Reina nightclub in the Turkish capital of Istanbul is believed to have absconded with his 4-year-old son after the deadly attack, reports Hurriyet Daily News, citing anonymous police sources.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Unnamed sources told police that the terrorist “went to his home in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu district after the attack and took his son before escaping.”
Hurriyet reports: “Police raided a house in Istanbul’s Maltepe district and detained Masharipov’s wife, whose identity has been kept hidden. Previous reports stated that his wife and his family members had been detained by police after the attack.”
“I learned about the attack from TV. I didn’t know that my husband was an ISIL militant, let alone a sympathizer,” declared his wife, according to some media reports.
Investigators have reportedly found that the alleged ISIS jihadist and his family rented a house in Istanbul near the end of December 2016.
Authorities “are trying to locate the people who possibly helped the ISIL militant and ISIL cells in Istanbul in light of the information given by Masharipov’s wife,” notes Hurriyet.
Earlier this week, Masharipov’s whereabouts remained unknown as Turkish security forces and police continue to search for him and potential accomplices.
Up to 12 people have been detained, many of them members of Turkey’s Uighur minority community.
Initially, officials had labeled the attacker an ethnic Uighur.
“There had been confusion over the identity of the attacker—who remains on the run—with reports initially suggesting a Kyrgyz national and then a Uighur from China,” reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Nevertheless, Turkish intelligence services and counterterrorism authorities in Istanbul have now reportedly determined the man to be a 34-year-old Uzbek who is part of a Central Asian ISIS cell.
“Uzbekistan clamped down on militant Islam after the fall of the Soviet Union under the secular rule of its long-standing leader Islam Karimov who died in 2016,” noted AFP.
ISIS “militants from Central Asia, including Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as well as from Russia’s Muslim regions of Dagestan and Chechnya are believed to have played a key role in the triple suicide bombings and gun attack at Istanbul’s main airport in June,” it added.