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Turkey Says Two Chinese Uyghur Suspects Arrested In Nightclub Massacre

People pray after laying wreaths in front of the Reina nightclub on January 4 in Istanbul.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says that two Chinese nationals of Uyghur origin were arrested on January 13, suspected of links to the New Year's Eve mass shooting at an Istanbul nightclub.

Anadolu news agency said Omar Asim and Abuliezi Abuduhamiti were held on charges of being members of an armed terrorist organization and of aiding in 39 counts of murder.

Authorities in Turkey last week said the man responsible for the nightclub deaths was likely an ethnic Uyghur. Anadolu said 35 people had been detained so far in connection with the attack.

Uyghurs are a mainly Muslim, Turkic-speaking minority in western China with significant diaspora communities across Central Asia and Turkey.

Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP