ISTANBUL -- Turkey said Wednesday (January 4) it had identified the gunman behind the New Year's attack on an elite Istanbul nightclub that killed 39, as efforts intensified to catch the suspected jihadist before he strikes again.
"The identity of the person responsible for the attack has been established," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during an interview with state-run Anadolu news agency, without giving any name.
The attack was claimed by the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL), with reports suggesting the authorities suspect the gunman may be from either Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan, both ex-Soviet states.
There was a flurry of interest surrounding a 28-year-old citizen of Kyrgyzstan who flew out of Istanbul on Tuesday (January 3), but he was released after questioning in Bishkek.
After slipping into the night following the attack, the killer remains on the run.
"Efforts to capture him continue," said Cavusoglu, adding that the house the suspect lived in "has been searched" and that the attack he mounted had been "professionally" planned.
Leaders from Central Asia and the EU leaders are also discussing joint efforts to stem terrorist activities in region.
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