2017-01-03

Kyrgyzstan probing whether a citizen involved in Istanbul attack

AFP

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan is investigating whether one of its citizens was involved in the New Year's attack at an Istanbul nightclub that left 39 dead, the central Asian country's intelligence services told AFP.

"The National Security Committee (GKNB) is looking into the possible involvement of a citizen of Kyrgyzstan in the attack in Istanbul," said Rakhat Soulaimanov, spokesman for the intelligence service, adding that investigators have been in touch with their Turkish counterparts.

He later added that the authorities had detained and questioned a 28-year-old Kyrgyz national, Yakhye Mashrapov, upon his return from Turkey after Turkish media reported he was a possible suspect in the attack.

"Members of the GKNB transferred him to a regional bureau where he was questioned. The details will be released later," Soulaimanov said.

Speaking to Kyrgyz media, Mashrapov denied any involvement in the attack, explaining that he arrived in Istanbul on January 1 "on business" before leaving on Tuesday after being briefly questioned by Turkish police due to his resemblance to a suspect in the killing.

The foreign ministry in Kyrgyzstan said it was "improbable" that one of its nationals was involved but said it was "checking anyway."

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