TURKISH media have broadcast new footage of a man believed to be the Daesh gunman who killed 39 people at a nightclub, showing a selfie video of the suspect as he circles Istanbul’s most famous square.
The camera never leaves the man’s unsmiling face as he walks through Taksim Square, one of the city’s prime tourist spots, during the 44-second video broadcast on state-run Anadolu television.
It was not clear if it was filmed before or after the new year massacre at the Reina nightclub, or how the footage was obtained.
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The gunman is still at large. Authorities have not publicly identified him, and police have denied reports that Kyrgyz passport information circulating in Turkish media belonged to him.
Daesh claimed the attack on Monday, saying a “soldier of the caliphate” had carried out the mass shooting to avenge Turkish military operations against Daesh in northern Syria.
At least 14 people have been detained in connection with the attack.
Hurriyet newspaper said a woman identified by Turkish media as the wife of the massacre suspect has told police she did not know her husband was a Daesh member.
The woman was detained in the central town of Konya as part of the investigation. Neither she nor her husband has been identified by name. Hurriyet reported that the woman said she learned about the attack on television.
Media reports said the gunman flew to Istanbul from Kyrgyzstan with his wife and children on November 20. From there, they drove to the Turkish capital Ankara before arriving in Konya on November 22.
The family rented a studio in Konya, paying three months’ rent upfront. The gunman told the estate agent he had arrived in Konya in search of work, according to the report.
Hurriyet said the gunman returned to Istanbul on December 29.
Several media outlets, citing unnamed security sources, said the man was believed to be from Central Asia and may have been part of the cell that staged a June attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport that killed 45 people.
The nightclub assailant, armed with a long-barrelled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian in the early hours of 2017 outside the club before opening fire on about 600 people inside.
Turkey has been rocked by violence in the past year, much of it blamed on Daesh. The government survived a failed coup over the summer and is also fighting against Kurdish insurgents.
The broadcasting of the footage comes a day after police ended an operation in an area of Istanbul that Turkish media reports had said was launched in connection to the nightclub attack.
Haber Turk television and other media said special operations police, acting on a tip, conducted a raid on an apartment in the Zeytinburnu district late on Monday. Associated Press journalists at the scene witnessed police leaving without making any arrests.
The private Dogan news agency says the operation was being carried out by special operations police with backing from a helicopter.
The assailant slipped from the scene of the gun attack at the Reina club early on Sunday, taking advantage of the chaos that ensued after he opened fire.