27 suspected IS members arrested for Istanbul attack

Istanbul, Jan 4 (IANS) Police arrested 27 suspected members of the Islamic State terrorist organisation in the Turkish province of Izmir on Wednesday for their alleged links to the New Year attack on Istanbul’s Reina nightclub.

According to local newspaper Hurriyet, the detainees include several children and belong to three families from Central Asia. They allegedly lived with the attacker in central Turkey and had fled their homes after the attack.

The anti-terrorist unit carried out a raid on four houses in Izmir, and according to security services, the operation is still ongoing, reports Efe.

Also arrested were 16 people in Istanbul and Konya in central Turkey between January 1 and 3 for their alleged involvement in the attack, which killed 39 and wounded 65.

The attacker, whom the Turkish Foreign Ministry identified earlier but did not disclosed his name, is still on the run.

Among the arrested is the wife of the attacker, who told the police that she did not know her husband belonged to IS.

According to investigations, the head of the terrorist group’s cell that carried out the attack was in Konya, used the alias Yusuf Hoca and organised the attacker’s journey from Konya to Istanbul.

The Islamic State claimed on Monday responsibility for the nightclub attack.

The attack took place at the exclusive Reina nightclub, where over 600 persons were celebrating the New Year’s Eve.