Suspected Istanbul terrorist denies charges against him

Main suspect in New Year's Day 2017 shooting attack in Istanbul denies charges in court. One of the victims in the attack was an Israeli.

Elad Benari ,

Istanbul shooting attack
Istanbul shooting attack

The main suspect in a New Year's Day 2017 shooting attack that killed 39 people at an Istanbul nightclub denied the charges against him in court on Monday, Reuters reported, citing Turkey's Anadolu news agency.

Among those killed in attack was 19-year-old Lian Zaher Nasser, an Israeli Arab from the city of Tira. Three other Israelis were wounded.

Abdulkadir Masharipov, an Uzbek national, was captured on January 17, 2017 by police who said he had acted on behalf of the Islamic State (ISIS). The jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack two days after it took place, saying it was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.

Masharipov was one of 58 defendants, 39 of whom are in detention, on trial in an Istanbul court on Monday over the assault at the exclusive Reina nightclub, according to Reuters.

The attacker opened fire with an automatic rifle, throwing stun grenades to allow himself to reload and shooting the wounded on the ground.

Masharipov repudiated his previous statements to police in which he admitted guilt, and disputed evidence against him, saying he was not the person photographed holding an assault rifle in the club.

He blamed the media for linking him to the attack, and said he hid after he saw the photos attached to his name because he did not have identification papers.

The court ordered the release of 19 of the defendants pending trial, banning them from traveling abroad. Masharipov was not among those to be released.

The next session of the trial will be held on May 16.