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Turkey Arrests Wrong Man In Connection With Istanbul Nightclub Attack

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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Turkish authorities claimed they identified the man suspected of shooting up an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Eve, but it appears they arrested the wrong man.

Lakhe Mashrapov, a 28-year-old citizen of Kyrgyzstan, was apprehended and questioned by Turkish authorities, who believed he was the Islamic State adherent responsible for the attack that left 39 dead and approximately 70 wounded.

Turkish authorities released a picture of Mashrapov’s passport Tuesday, believing he looked similar to the suspect.

Mashrapov told Kyrgyz media that he was in Istanbul on business. He noted he has been working as a trader since 2011 and was not even in Istanbul the night of the attack, having traveled to Istanbul for business on Dec. 28 and leaving on Dec. 30. Mashrapov returned to Istanbul on New Year’s Day and boarded a return flight on Jan. 3. Turkish police hauled him off his plane and interrogated him for hours before apologizing and putting him on another return flight.

Turkish authorities have arrested 12 people in connection to the Reina nightclub massacre, but they have yet to catch the man responsible for the attack. They released a selfie video of the alleged unnamed perpetrator walking around Istanbul’s Taksim Square, a popular tourist destination. It is unclear how authorities obtained the video.

A security camera video of the mass shooting leaked on the internet Monday, showing the beginning of the shooter’s assault on the club. Most of the victims were foreigners, and it appeared that the terrorist purposefully targeted Reina due its popularity with tourists.

ISIS took credit for the shooting Sunday through its Amaq news agency, a known propaganda outlet.

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