The Islamic State shooter responsible for a mass shooting at a Turkish nightclub kept a veritable terrorist treasure trove in his Istanbul apartment, including massive amounts of cash, guns and cell phone SIM cards.
Abdulkadir Masharipov, who reportedly used the code name “Abu Muhammad al-Horasani,” was captured in an apartment located in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district. In addition to Masharipov himself, Turkish police discovered a cache including everything a terrorist operative would need to engage in a major attack. Masharipov had approximately $200,000 in cash, two pistols, ammunition magazines and two drones stashed away in the apartment. Police previously seized $150,000 Jan. 5, money which was believed to be the attacker’s payment for the hit on the Reina nightclub. Masharipov killed 39 and injured approximately 70 people in the New Year’s day attack.
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Turkish police are still determining what Masharipov was planning to do with the cache of weapons and equipment, but ISIS is known to have used drones to drop bombs on civilian targets before. The large amount of cash also raises questions about whether the attacker intended to engage in further operations. Terrorists often exchange SIM cards in cell phones in order to avoid tracking by intelligence agencies.
Masharipov was sharing the the apartment with four other people, including a man from Kyrgyzstan and three women from Somalia, Senegal and Egypt. All four were detained with Masharipov, but it is unclear if they were involved in the shooting. Masharipov’s son was also found at the apartment, and was subsequently taken into protective custody by Turkish authorities. The apartment itself reportedly belonged to a friend of Masharipov’s from Kygyzstan, though it is unclear whether the friend was involved in terrorist activities.
Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin noted that Masharipov, a 34-year-old native of Uzbekistan, was a “well trained” terrorist who spoke four languages and spent time in Afghanistan before traveling to Turkey.
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