The wife of a man suspected of slaughtering revellers in an Istanbul nightclub has claimed she had ‘no idea’ her husband was an ISIS sympathiser.
Turkish police reportedly released a statement made by the wife, who said she only found out about the atrocity when reports emerged on television.
The suspect boarded a plane in Kyrgyzstan with his wife and children and it landed in Istanbul on November 20 last year.
They then travelled by road to Konya in central Turkey via Ankara, arriving two days later, the statement said, according to Hurriyet newspaper.
There they rented a flat, paying 1,100 Turkish Lira (£250) per month, with a three-month downpayment.
Her husband told her that they were travelling to Konya in search of job opportunities.
On December 29, he left Konya to travel by road to Istanbul, she reportedly said, adding that she only learned about the shooting when she saw it on the television. She had no idea that her husband is an ISIS sympathiser, she said.
When police released pictures of the suspect, his neighbours in Konya called a police hotline and identified him, leading investigators to the family home, police added.
Meanwhile, Turkish authorities have today detained two foreign nationals at Istanbul’s main airport over suspected links to the attack.
The pair were detained on entering Ataturk International Airport and have been taken to Istanbul police headquarters for questioning, it has been reported.
The government said yesterday that eight people had been detained but the number then increased to 14 after new detentions in the Anatolian city of Konya.
A manhunt for the chief suspect is intensifying today.
A man named as the Istanbul suspect on a passport released by Turkey’s state-run TRT World today came forward to say he was not involved’
It comes as horrifying new details of the advanced, special forces techniques used by the Istanbul nightclub terrorist emerged.
The highly trained killer’s weapon was loaded with armour-piercing bullets, creating the maximum number of casualties in the crowded Reina nightclub on New Year’s Eve, according to Turkish security sources widely reported in local media.
He used flares to light up his targets before unleashing a hail of bullets known for their tendency to ricochet as well as penetrate barriers, creating horrific carnage in a short amount of time, the sources said.
It comes as Turkey’s leading Hurriyet newspaper said the ISIS fanatic, who murdered 39 in the shooting rampage, is married with two children and that police have detained his family for questioning.
The suspect, who has still not been named, brought his wife and children to Konya in central Turkey in November 2016 to slip under the radar by posing as a family man, the Milliyet newspaper added.
Eyewitnesses said the killer carried out the operation calmly and precisely, keeping his ground and picking off his victims in a systematic manner.
His magazines had been bound together to allow him to reload rapidly, and when both were empty, he dropped them on the floor. Six were used in total, the Vatan newspaper said.
Eyewitnesses also reported that the killer used flash bombs to illuminate and disorient his targets.
A bartender who survived the attack, quoted by Hurriyet, said: ‘The terrorist threw something that lit up every time he finished his magazine. It happened at least three times.’
In another sign of the murderer’s professionalism, he reportedly dropped the flash bombs behind him so that he would be able to see his victims clearly without being blinded by the light, according to the Sozcu newspaper.
Abdulkadir Selvi, an influential columnist for the Hurriyet newspaper, alleged that the suspect is understood to have been trained in Syria.
The fanatic’s nationality remains unclear. Yesterday, police said he comes from ‘Central Asia’, and officials from Kyrgyzstan confirmed that they were investigating whether he was from that country.
But this morning, citing unnamed security sources, the Aydinlik newspaper claimed the suspect was from Xinjiang, an area of northeastern China known by separatists as East Turkestan.
It has also been revealed that the Iraqi-born businessman Muhammad al-Sarraf, one of the wealthiest men in Jordan, was killed in the nightclub attack.
The mogul owned 13 companies in Jordan and Iraq.
The father-of-three had been visiting Istanbul for the New Year with a colleague, Nawras Assaf, their wives and a third couple.
Assaf was also killed, and his wife is in critical condition in an intensive care unit in Jordan.
Sarraf’s wife and the other Jordanian couple were also injured in the attack.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Jake Wallis Simons