Turkish police arrest 8 in Istanbul nightclub attack, gunman still at large

Police secure an area near an Istanbul nightclub, following a gun attack, Turkey, on January 1, 2017. (REUTERS/Osman Orsal/CBSN)

ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on the Istanbul nightclub attack (all times local):

5:00 p.m.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says a criminal complaint has been filed against people who used social media to praise the deadly New Year’s attack at a nightclub in Istanbul, as well as against several people who demonized the New Year celebration or threatened attacks.

The Turkish Bar Association filed a criminal complaint with the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s office on Monday, calling for the investigation and prosecution of those who praised the gun attack which killed 39 and injured dozens.

Some social media users praised the killings and condemned the night’s celebration on religious grounds.

The complaint also called for prosecution of a school administrator who banned New Year’s celebrations, those responsible for protests or banners depicting violence against Santa Claus, as well as a newspaper which published threatening headlines.

Prime Minister Binali Yilidirim sent a Twitter message on Sunday warning that legal action would be taken against those who praised terrorism.

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3:40 p.m.

Kyrgyzstan’s Foreign Ministry says it is looking into media reports that the gunman in the New Year’s Eve night club attack in Istanbul could be from the Central Asian country.

“We have ordered the consul in Istanbul the check this report that has appeared in the press,” ministry spokeswoman Aiymkan Kulukeyeva was quoted as saying Monday by the Interfax news agency. “According to preliminary information, this information is doubtful but we are checking all the same.”

The Hurriyet and Karar newspapers on Monday cited unnamed security officials saying that authorities have determined that the gunman who killed 39 people comes from a Central Asian nation and is believed to be either from Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan.

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3:15 p.m.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says police have detained eight people in connection with the Istanbul nightclub attack.

Anadolu Agency says that the eight have been taken into custody by Istanbul anti-terrorism squads and they are being questioned at Istanbul’s main police headquarters.

The gunman, who escaped after carrying out the attack, wasn’t among the eight.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed 39 people, most of them foreigners.

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3 p.m.

The father of one of the victims of the deadly New Year’s attack at a popular Istanbul nightclub has arrived from Belgium to collect his 23-year-old son’s body.

Waiting outside the Forensic Medicine Institute, Ali Akyil told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency that they were a Turkish family who loved their country, and so his son, Mehmet Kerim Akyil, had gone to Istanbul for his New Year’s vacation.

Anadolu said that relatives were also waiting outside to collect 38-year-old Bulent Sirvan Osman’s body and return him to Erbil, Iraq. A married father of two, Osman was in Istanbul for business.

Abdullah Ahmed Abbolos, a 32-year-old Palestinian who lived in Saudi Arabia, had come to Istanbul to celebrate the new year. An acquaintance told Anadolu his body would likely be taken to Saudi Arabia.

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2 p.m.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry says two people who lived in Germany, one of them a German citizen, are believed to have died in the New Year’s attack on an Istanbul nightclub.

Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer says that both resided in Bavaria. One was a German-Turkish dual citizen and the other is believed to have had only Turkish nationality.

Schaefer said that three German citizens were wounded in the attack. They are not in a life-threatening condition.

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1:30 p.m.

Relatives and Bollywood friends have converged at the Mumbai home of Abis Rizvi, one of the two Indian victims of the New Year’s attack at a popular Istanbul nightclub.

They offered condolences to the bereaved family on Monday even as Rizvi’s father left for Istanbul to bring back his son’s body. The body is expected to reach Mumbai on Wednesday, according to Bollywood actor and friend Raza Murad.

Rizvi, a 49-year-old builder, wrote, produced and directed a Bollywood movie “Roar: The Tigers of Sunderbans,” in 2014 aimed at spreading awareness about tigers.

The other Indian victim of the Istanbul attack that killed 39 people was Khushi Shah, a fashion designer from Vadodara, a city in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

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12:50 p.m.

Turkey’s Interior Ministry says that dozens of people have been detained in the past week over suspected ties to the Islamic State group.

The ministry’s announcement came after a gunman opened fire on New Year’s revelers at an Istanbul nightclub, killing 39 people and wounded dozens of others. IS has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement released Monday, the ministry said 147 people were detained after authorities determined “they were in contact with the Daesh terrorist organization,” referring to an Arabic acronym for IS.

Of the detained, 25 people have been formally put under arrest.

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12:20 p.m.

Turkey’s state news agency says 38 of the 39 victims of the New Year’s attack on an Istanbul nightclub have been identified.

The Anadolu news agency, citing unidentified Turkish justice ministry officials, says 11 those killed by a gunman who escaped were Turkish nationals and one was a Turkish-Belgium dual citizen.

The report says seven victims were from Saudi Arabia; three were from Lebanon and Iraq each; two nationals were from Tunisia, India, Morocco and Jordan each. Kuwait, Canada, Israel, Syria and Russia each lost one citizen.

Sixty-nine people were also wounded. Anadolu says one victim remains unidentified.

Relatives of the victims and embassy personal were seen walking into an Istanbul morgue to claim the bodies of the deceased.

Turkish officials haven’t released the names of those identified.

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12 p.m.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says more than 100 Islamic State targets in Syria have been hit by Turkey and Russia in separate operations, a day after a deadly attack at a popular Istanbul nightclub during New Year’s celebrations claimed by the group.

Citing the Turkish Chief of General Staff’s office, Anadolu Agency said Turkish jets struck eight IS group targets while tanks and artillery fired upon 103 targets near Al Bab, killing 22 extremists while destroying many structures.

Anadolu added that Russian jets also attacked IS targets in Dayr Kak, eight kilometers (five miles) to the southwest of Al Bab.

Turkey sent troops into neighboring northern Syria in August to clear a border area of IS militants and curb territorial advances by Syrian Kurdish forces.

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11:45 a.m.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Istanbul shooting that killed 39 people and wounded scores of others.

The IS-linked Aamaq News Agency said the New Year’s attack was carried by a “heroic soldier of the caliphate who attacked the most famous nightclub where Christians were celebrating their pagan feast.”

It said the man opened fire from an automatic rifle in “revenge for God’s religion and in response to the orders” of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The group described Turkey as “the servant of the cross.”

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10:10 a.m.

Turkish media reports say that authorities believe that the Islamic State group is behind the attack on a popular Istanbul nightclub during New Year’s celebrations.

Hurriyet and Karar newspaper reports Monday cited unnamed security officials saying that authorities have determined that the gunman who killed 39 people comes from a Central Asian nation and is believed to be either from Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan.

Police had also established similarities with the high-casualty attack at Ataturk Airport in June and was investigating whether the same IS cell carried out both attacks.

The gunman, who is still at large, killed a policeman and another man outside the Reina club in the early hours of 2017 before firing at people partying inside.

Nearly two-thirds of the dead were foreigners, many from the Middle East.

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