Police in Turkey have released an image of the man they are hunting in connection with the New Year’s Eve nightclub massacre in which 39 people died and dozens more were injured.
The man, who has not been named, is said to be from either East Turkestan, Afghanistan or Chechny. According to Turkish intelligence officials, he is part of the East Turkestan ISIS network.
Officers have released the images after searching through CCTV footage from the upmarket Reina nighclub. The suspect can be seen firing at partygoers who had been celebrating New Year’s Eve, taking out a Kalashnikov and shooting at random.
The massive manhunt continues as the first victims of the terror attack have been named. They include a female security guard and an Israeli Arab tourist. The gunman appears to have walked calmly into the club and then opened fire, while shouting “Allahu Akbar”.
Fifteen of those who died are believed to be foreign nationals, including an Israeli and people from Libya, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. It is not yet clear whether they were living in the city, or whether they were on holiday there to celebrate the start of the New Year.
One of the victims was Hatice Koc’un, a 27 year old mother of one. She was working at a private security guard at the club on New Year’s Eve. Under Turkish law, a woman guard must be employed in case searches are to be carried out on female clubbers. Her devastated family have identified her body today and are taking her home to the wester city of Balikesir. Tragic Ms Koc’un’s daughter is just three years old and must now grow up without a mum.
Meanwhile, an Israeli teenager has also been identified as being among those who lost their lives. Leanne Nasser, 19, was on holiday with three friends, all from the Arab-majority village of Tira.