ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on the Istanbul nightclub attack (all times local):
Turkey’s state-run news agency says more than 100 Islamic State targets in Syria have been hit by Turkey and Russia in separate operations, a day after a deadly attack at a popular Istanbul nightclub during New Year’s celebrations claimed by the group.
Citing the Turkish Chief of General Staff’s office, Anadolu Agency said Turkish jets struck eight IS group targets while tanks and artillery fired upon 103 targets near Al Bab, killing 22 extremists while destroying many structures.
Anadolu added that Russian jets also attacked IS targets in Dayr Kak, eight kilometers (five miles) to the southwest of Al Bab.
Turkey sent troops into neighboring northern Syria in August to clear a border area of IS militants and curb territorial advances by Syrian Kurdish forces.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Istanbul shooting that killed 39 people and wounded scores of others.
The IS-linked Aamaq News Agency said the New Year’s attack was carried by a “heroic soldier of the caliphate who attacked the most famous nightclub where Christians were celebrating their pagan feast.”
It said the man opened fire from an automatic rifle in “revenge for God’s religion and in response to the orders” of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The group described Turkey as “the servant of the cross.”
Turkish media reports say that authorities believe that the Islamic State group is behind the attack on a popular Istanbul nightclub during New Year’s celebrations.
Hurriyet and Karar newspaper reports Monday cited unnamed security officials saying that authorities have determined that the gunman who killed 39 people comes from a Central Asian nation and is believed to be either from Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan.
Police had also established similarities with the high-casualty attack at Ataturk Airport in June and was investigating whether the same IS cell carried out both attacks.
The gunman, who is still at large, killed a policeman and another man outside the Reina club in the early hours of 2017 before firing at people partying inside.
Nearly two-thirds of the dead were foreigners, many from the Middle East.
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