The government’s spokesman said the Turkish authorities are close to fully identifying the gunman responsible for an attack on an Istanbul nightclub which killed 39 people on new year’s day and have detained eight other people.

Addressing a news conference, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the information about the fingerprints and basic appearance of the terrorist have been found and the process to identify him swiftly will be carried out.

He said it was clear that Turkey’s military incursion into Syria, launched in august, had annoyed terror groups and those behind them, but said the offensive would continue until all threats to Turkey were removed.

Kurtulmus also said Sunday’s attack bore significant differences to previous attacks in Turkey and that it had been carried out to create divisions within Turkish society.