Turkish authorities arrested two Chinese citizens over alleged links to the New Year’s nightclub terrorist attack in Istanbul, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.Two suspects, Omar Asim and Abuliezi Abuduhamiti, who are Chinese citizens, were remanded in custody on charges of being members of an armed terrorist organization and aiding in 39 counts of murder.
In the days after the attack, Turkish media reported that the perpetrator, who remains at large, was from Kyrgyzstan, and circulated a photo of a Kyrgyz or Uzbek man they said was responsible. Kyrgyz authorities report that they have since cleared the individual.
The self-styled Islamic State terrorist group has claimed the attack, saying it was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.Officials said last week the attacker was likely a Turkic Uighur, with authorities reportedly looking into the possible existence of a cell, including other Takfiris from Central Asia.
Anadolu also said 35 people had been detained so far in connection with the attack. The Uighurs were among those detained, local media reports said.Xinjiang is home to a Turkic-speaking, predominantly Muslim ethnic group known as the Uyghurs. Anadolu says the two suspects are Uyghurs.
A gunman opened fire, killing 39 people and wounding 69 others, during a New Year’s party at the upscale nightclub, Reina. Authorities are searching for the gunman who carried out the massacre. The gunman remains at large despite a massive manhunt.