You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

The Latest: Obama offers condolences to Turkey's president

Associated Press logo Associated Press 4/01/2017

A woman reacts as people gather near the nightclub, the scene of the New Year's Day attack, in Istanbul, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack killing 39 people saying a “soldier of the caliphate” had carried out the mass shooting to avenge Turkish military operations against IS in northern Syria. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

A woman reacts as people gather near the nightclub, the scene of the New Year's Day attack, in Istanbul, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack killing 39 people saying a “soldier of the caliphate” had carried out the mass shooting to avenge Turkish military operations against IS in northern Syria. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
© The Associated Press
Replay Video

ISTANBUL — The latest on the manhunt for the Istanbul nightclub attacker and the aftermath of the massacre (all times local):

3:35 a.m.

The White House says President Barack Obama has offered his condolences to Turkey's leader over a pair of deadly attacks, including at a nightclub on New Year's Eve.

Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also agreed during their telephone conversation Tuesday that their countries must "stand united" to defeat terrorism.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Dec. 31 shooting at Istanbul's Reina nightclub that killed 39 revelers.

Obama also expressed sorrow over a Dec. 17 attack on off-duty Turkish soldiers in the central province of Kayseri that killed 13 troops. A wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party has said it was responsible.

The White House said Obama also welcomed Turkey's efforts to help implement a nationwide cease-fire in Syria as well as the resumption of political talks between the Syrian government and the opposition.

___

6:50 p.m.

Lebanon is bidding farewell to three victims of the New Years' Eve attack in an Istanbul nightclub.

Hundreds attended emotional funerals held Tuesday for two of the victims, Haykal Mousallem and Elias Wardini. A third victim, Rita Shami, will be laid to rest Thursday.

The bodies of the three arrived Monday night in Beirut, wrapped in red, white and green Lebanese flags. On Tuesday, relatives and friends of Wardini, a 26-year-old fitness instructor who was engaged to be married, set off fireworks as his white coffin arrived at a church in the district of Ashrafieh.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced one hour of national mourning for the victims. Four Lebanese were also wounded in the Istanbul attack.

___

5:45 p.m.

Hundreds of people have attended the funeral of a Jordanian businessman who was among the 39 people killed in the shooting at Istanbul's Reina nightclub.

The funeral for 44-year-old Nauras Assaf, a Christian, was held Tuesday in the town of Fuheis in central Jordan. Assaf's wife was wounded in the attack and is recovering in a hospital in Turkey.

Jordan's ambassador to Turkey, Amjad al-Adayleh, was among those attending the funeral.

Al-Adayleh says, "This attack is condemned by all religions, not only by Islam and Christianity."

___

4:40 p.m.

Turkey's interior minister says authorities have thwarted a total of 339 possible attacks in 2016, most of them by Kurdish militants.

Suleyman Soylu told parliament Tuesday that the foiled attacks include 313 planned attempts by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and 22 by the Islamic State group.

The minister said authorities seized 247 explosive devices, 23 car bombs and detained 23 would-be suicide bombers last year.

Speaking a day after the IS claimed responsibility for the deadly attack at a popular Istanbul nightclub, Soylu said some 80 of the attacks were thwarted in the past three months.

More than 3,506 IS suspects were detained in 2016, including 1,531 foreign nationals, the minister said.

Soylu said authorities had stepped up security on public transportation such as trams and buses as well as airports and at train and bus terminals.

___

4 p.m.

Thousands of people have attended the funeral of an Arab Israeli teen who was killed in the Istanbul nightclub attack.

Layan Nasser, 18, was among those killed in the attack. Mourners wept and wailed as they marched behind her wooden coffin through the streets of the Israeli city of Tira Tuesday.

Tira Mayor Mamoun Abd El Hai said the city had declared a day of mourning in memory of Nasser, meaning banks and municipal offices were closed.

"She had dreams to work, to progress, to study, to raise a family, but unfortunately the terror put an end to her dreams," Abd El Hai said.

Nasser, a dental assistant, traveled to Istanbul to celebrate the New Year with three friends.

___

3:30 p.m.

Turkey's state-run news agency says police have detained two foreign nationals at Istanbul's main airport on suspicion of links to the deadly nightclub attack.

Anadolu Agency said the two were taken into custody on Tuesday at the international flights terminal at Ataturk Airport. No information on their nationalities was available.

It said police checked the pair's cellphones and luggage before they were taken away to Istanbul's main police headquarters.

Meanwhile the private Dogan news agency said airports and border crossings were put on high alert and that anyone resembling the wanted gunman was being stopped and questioned by police.

___

2:40 p.m.

Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper says a woman identified by Turkish media as the wife of the Istanbul nightclub massacre suspect has told police she did not know her husband was a member of the Islamic State group.

IS has claimed responsibility for the New Year's Eve attack that killed 39 people at the Reina nightclub. Police are still searching for the gunman.

The woman was detained in the central town of Konya as part of the investigation. Neither she nor her husband has been identified by name. Hurriyet said on its online edition Tuesday that the woman said she learned about the attack on television and told police she didn't know her husband harbored "sympathies toward" the Islamic State group.

Media reports say the gunman flew to Istanbul from Kyrgyzstan with his wife and children on Nov. 20. From there they drove to the Turkish capital, Ankara, by before arriving in Konya on Nov. 22.

The family rented a studio in Konya, paying three months of rent upfront. The gunman told the estate agent he had arrived in Konya in search of work, according to the report.

Hurriyet said the gunman returned to Istanbul Dec. 29.

___

1:50 p.m.

Turkey's state-run news agency says six more people have been detained in connection with the deadly Istanbul nightclub attack, raising the number of suspects held to 14.

Anadolu Agency said Tuesday all 14 were being questioned at Istanbul's main police headquarters. It did not provide details on the suspects or say where they were taken into custody.

Anadolu said police were receiving numerous reports of sightings or tips from citizens, following the release of photos and videos of the alleged gunman, who has not been publicly identified.

___

12:50 p.m.

Turkey's prime minister has slammed the Obama administration for backing Syrian Kurdish forces which Turkey considers to be terrorists, and urged President-elect Donald Trump to put an end to "this shame."

Binali Yildirim said that Turkey's military had killed more than 1,200 Islamic State militants since the start of its military incursion into northern Syria in August, insisting that Turkey was the country leading the most effective fight against the extremist group.

Yildirim was addressing members of the ruling party in parliament a day after IS claimed responsibility for the Istanbul nightclub attack, which killed 39 New Year's revelers.

Yildirim said: "They are pretending to fight Daesh. Turkey is the only country that is leading a fight. The United States isn't doing anything."

___

12:10 p.m.

Turkish tourism industry professionals have marched to the nightclub where 39 New Year's revelers were killed, in a show of solidarity and to protest a spate of attacks that has crippled the sector.

About 200 people, including restaurateurs, hotel owners and gastronomy students, took part in the protest, marching behind a large banner that read: "We won't be daunted! For our tomorrows."

Turkey's crucial tourism industry has suffered enormously after a series of recent attacks in the country.

The nightclub assailant, armed with a long-barreled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian early Sunday outside the Reina club before entering and firing at some of the estimated 600 people inside.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the nightclub attack.

___

11:45 a.m.

Turkish media are quoting security experts as saying that the man who killed 39 and wounded nearly 70 people in a New Year's nightclub attack in Istanbul before fleeing the scene is a highly professional assassin.

The English-language Daily News quoted anti-terror expert Abdullah Agar as saying the way the attacker operated shows that "he is absolutely a killer and he probably shot at humans before."

Agar is quoted as saying that "the attacker is determined, faithful, practical, coldblooded expert and knows how to get results ... he probably fired bullets in real clash zones."

The nightclub assailant, armed with a long-barreled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian early Sunday outside the Reina club before entering and firing at some of the estimated 600 people inside.

___

10:50 a.m.

The United Arab Emirates has warned its citizens not to travel to Turkey following the attack on an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people.

The UAE's Foreign Ministry has issued a terse statement in Arabic to "postpone plans to travel to Turkey until further notice."

While no Emirati was killed in the attack, one Kuwaiti and seven Saudis were killed in the New Year's assault.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack at the Reina nightclub.

___

10:40 a.m.

Turkish media have run a "selfie video" of a man they say is the gunman who killed 39 people at an Istanbul nightclub.

The video broadcast on Turkish television Tuesday shows the alleged gunman filming himself at Taksim square. It wasn't immediately clear if it was filmed before or after the New Year's massacre at the Reina nightclub.

The Islamic State group claimed the attack. The gunman, who is still at large, hasn't been identified.

Several media reports said the man was believed to be from a Central Asian nation. Haber Turk newspaper said the man is thought to be a member of China's Muslim Uighur minority. It said he arrived in the Turkish city of Konya with his wife and two children. His family was detained, it said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon