17 January, 2017
Turkish security forces say they have arrested the main suspect in the attack on a nightclub in Istanbul on December 31.
The attack killed 39 people and injured several others.
The Hurriyet Daily News said Abdulkadir Masharipov was detained Monday in Istanbul's Esenyurt area. He is said to be an Uzbek national.
Turkish television and other news agencies said police seized the suspect in a raid on a house. Five others in the house also were detained. They included one person from Iraq and women from Egypt, Senegal and Somalia.
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister congratulated police in a Twitter post Tuesday. He also said that Turkey's "war with terror and the powers behind it will continue to the end."
The hunt for Masharipov had been going on for days once police identified him as the main suspect.
Istanbul's governor said the arrest was part of a well-organized operation. The search for the suspect involved more than 2,000 police officers.
More than 40 other foreign nationals were detained as police searched for suspects. The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the attack.
The New Year's Eve attack was the third in Turkey in the past two years linked to militants from Central Asia who admitted links to the Islamic State group.
Islamic State jihadists from Central Asia were said to have carried out two earlier attacks, including one on Istanbul's Ataturk airport in June. That attacked killed 44 people and wounded more than 230 others. The Turkish government said the three suicide bombers responsible for that attack were from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
A suicide bomber from Russia's republic of Dagestan was identified after she exploded a bomb outside an Istanbul police station in January 2015. Eighteen police officers were killed in that blast.
Intelligence agencies have described Turkey as a crossing point for hundreds of Central Asian extremists. They have been moving into Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State group in its aim to establish a caliphate in Syria and parts of northern Iraq.
I'm John Russell.
Lou Lorscheider and Chris Hannas wrote this story for VOA News. Alice Bryant adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.
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Words in This Story
nightclub - n. a place that is open at night, has music, dancing, or a show, and usually serves alcoholic drinks and food
jihadist - n. a person who fights to defend or spread Muslim beliefs
caliphate - n. the rule or reign of a caliph or chief Muslim ruler