RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Author)
The United States said on April 21 that it killed an Islamic State operative who was a close associate of leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and linked to an attack on a Turkish nightclub that left 39 people dead.
Abdurakhmon Uzbeki, who was believed to be from Uzbekistan, was killed during a secret ground operation near Mayadin, Syria, on April 6, said Colonel John Thomas, a spokesman for the U.S. military's Central Command.
Thomas said Uzbeki helped facilitate the attack on the exclusive Istanbul nightclub Reina on New Year's Eve. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for Turkey's military involvement in Syria.
The attacker opened fire with an automatic rifle, throwing stun grenades to allow himself to reload and shooting the wounded on the ground. Among those killed in the attack were Turks and visitors from several Arab nations, India, and Canada.
"We have clearly linked him with the New Year's Eve Istanbul bombing," Thomas said.
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