By Tim Argano
ISTANBUL — The Islamic State issued a rare claim of responsibility on Monday for the New Year’s Day attack on an Istanbul nightclub that killed at least 39 people, describing the gunman who carried out the assault — and who has not been identified or captured — as “a hero soldier of the caliphate.”
The authorities are still searching for the gunman, who killed a police officer guarding the club before going on a shooting rampage with a rapid-fire rifle at the Reina nightclub, leaving 39 dead, but the state news media reported that eight suspects had been detained in connection with the attack.
The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported on Monday that the gunman might be from Kyrgyzstan or elsewhere in Central Asia. The Russian news agency Interfax quoted Aiymkan Kulukeyeva, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry in Kyrgyzstan, as saying, “According to preliminary information, this information is doubtful, but we are checking all the same.”
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