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Iran Press TV

Turkey detains 8 suspects over Istanbul nightclub shooting rampage

Iran Press TV

Mon Jan 2, 2017 2:15PM

Turkish security police have reportedly arrested eight people suspected of having links to a New Year gun massacre at an Istanbul nightclub that claimed the lives of nearly 40 people and wounded dozens of others.

According to a report published by Turkey's Dogan news agency, the arrests were made by Istanbul's anti-terror police on Monday. It added that police were pressing on with counter-terrorism operations after detaining the first group of suspects.

The shooting rampage occurred in the early hours on Sunday, when a gunman, wearing a Santa Claus costume, entered the Reina nightclub at the popular Besiktas area in Istanbul and rained down a hail of bullets on New Year revelers, killing 39, mostly foreign tourists, and wounding 69 others.

Local media reported that the assailant, who is still at large, fired off at least four magazines, containing a total of 120 bullets, around the club during the seven-minute shooting spree. The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the massacre, which unleashed scenes of panic among tourists and party-goers in the country's most populous city. A manhunt is underway for the perpetrator.

Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said the attacker, armed with a long-barreled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian outside the nightclub before entering and opening fire on people partying inside.

Turkey's Interior Ministry announced in a statement that 147 people have been detained in the past week after authorities determined that "they were in contact with the Daesh terrorist organization."

Turkey has come under many attacks over the past year, claimed by Kurdish militants and the Daesh Takfiri terror group, which operates in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

'Terrorists seek chaos in Turkey'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said in a statement on the presidential website that terrorists behind the "brutal attack" on the nightclub had sought to create chaos in Turkey.

"Those aiming at the peace of our nation, and their pawns, are working to destabilize our country and trigger chaos by demoralizing our people through their heinous attacks that also target civilians," he said, adding that Ankara is determined to eradicate threats and attacks against Turkey "at their source."

"We are aware that these attacks, carried out by various terror organizations against our country, are not independent from incidents happening in our region," he further said.

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