Gunman in Istanbul nightclub attack may have trained in Syria

January 3, 2017 12:45

ISTANBUL - The gunman who killed 39 people in an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Day in an attack claimed by Islamic State appears to have been well versed in guerrilla warfare and may have trained in Syria, a newspaper report and a security source said on Tuesday.

The attacker, who remains at large, shot dead a police officer and a civilian at the entrance to the exclusive Reina nightclub on Sunday. He then opened fire with an automatic rifle inside, reloading his weapon half a dozen times and shooting the wounded as they lay on the ground.

In a statement claiming the attack on Monday, Islamic State described the club as a gathering point for Christians celebrating their "apostate holiday" and said the shooting was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.

"The assailant has experience in combat for sure ... he could have been fighting in Syria for years," one security source told Reuters, saying that he was likely to have been directed in his actions by the jihadist group.

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