New York terror attack: Eight dead as truck rams cyclists in Manhattan as driver shouts ‘Allahu Akbar’

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Eight people died and 11 injured in the worst terror attack on New York since September 11, 2001 as a lone wolf extremist screaming “Allahu Akbar” used a pick-up truck to mow down cyclists along a bike path on Halloween.

The attacker struck just a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center memorial, running over afternoon riders on the path before reaching a road and ploughing into a school bus.

He then jumped out of the truck wielding what turned out to be a pellet gun, and a paintball gun. He was chased and shot in the stomach by a police officer but survived and was arrested.

The suspect has been identified as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, 29, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, who arrived in the US in 2010. He has a Florida driver’s license but was reportedly living in Paterson, New Jersey, with family, sources told local media. 

US media, citing police sources, said that Saipov left a note in the truck claiming he committed the attack on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Sayfullo Saipov

Sayfullo Saipov

Credit:
@NYScanner/Twitter

A group of five friends from Argentina were among those killed, the country’s foreign ministry has said. The compatriots were celebrating the 30th anniversary of their graduation from Polytechnic College in the city of Rosario in central Argentina.

A Belgian national also died in the attack.  Didier Reynders, Belgium’s foreign minister, told the Belga news agency that “it was a woman from Roulers in western Flanders who was on a city trip with with her sister and her mother” in New York.

President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter: “Looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!”

Mr Trump blamed the attack on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant which has encouraged its followers to use vehicles to mow people down. The UK, France and Germany have all seen deadly vehicle attacks in the recent past.

The US president added: “We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!”

A White House official said Mr Trump had been fully briefed by his chief of staff John Kelly and was being “continually updated”.

Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “appalled by this cowardly attack, my thoughts are with all affected. Together we will defeat the evil of terrorism”.

The attack begun shortly after 3pm when the truck mounted a bike path that runs down along the western edge of Manhattan, along the Hudson River, at Houston Street. 

It headed south, smashing into pedestrians and cyclists as it picked up speed and leaving bodies crumpled in its wake. 

Those who spotted the vehicle had little doubt the intention was terror, unable to think of another explanation for what they were seeing. 

“I was just going to watch a baseball game ” said Eugene Duffy, a 43-year-old eye witness to the incident. 

“I saw a truck and he was clearly in the bike lane at three in the afternoon.

“Then I saw two gentlemen lying on the path with tyre marks on their bodies.They were not moving. “He was going really fast and they didn’t know what hit them.”

A picture allegedly showing the suspected attacker

A picture allegedly showing the suspected attacker

Credit:
@GGGLee089 

Jamal Lewis, a 17-year-old student who witnessed the attack told The Daily Telegraph: “I was walking down West street and heard a loud noise behind me. I saw the white pickup truck run over two cyclists and carried on. People were around their bodies, but they were dead. There was no screaming, people were in shock.”

The attacker continued all the way until Chambers Street – a distance of round 20 blocks – before heading back to the road. 

The truck smashed into a yellow school bus, injuring children and adults and leaving sizable dents in both vehicles. 

The crash happened just a few blocks from World Trade Center memorial.

The attacker was left injured but not incapacitated. Stumbling from the car, he pulled out what appeared to be two guns – but were later confirmed to be a paintball and pellet gun. 

Police investigate the scene of a pickup truck attack on the West Side Highway in Manhattan, New York

Police investigate the scene of a pickup truck attack on the West Side Highway in Manhattan, New York

Credit:
Reuters

“Allahu Akbar”, he begun to shout – “God is Great” in Arabic – as passersby screamed and ran in all directions. 

James O’Neill, the city’s police chief, confirmed that the suspect made a statement that suggested terrorism as a motive when he exited the vehicle.

“If you just look at the M.O. of the attack, that’s consistent with what’s been going on. So that along with the statement has enabled us to label this a terrorist event,” he said.

One witness said the driver looked “confused” and appeared to be injured in a “pretty bad” way. Others said he was limping.  

“A whole load of people came running past my way saying ‘he’s got a gun, he’s got a gun’, the witness added.

By coincidence, a New York police officer stationed close by heard the commotion and was able to intervene rapidly. 

A woman is aided by first responders after sustaining injury on a bike path in lower Manhattan in New York

A woman is aided by first responders after sustaining injury on a bike path in lower Manhattan in New York

Credit:
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Witnesses recall hearing between five and ten shots. The NYPD later confirmed the attacker had been shot in the abdomen and taken to hospital.

The officer was praised by Bill de Blasio, the New York Mayor, while other officers said it was that quick thinking that had prevented more “carnage”. 

Soon half a dozen ambulances and a dozen fire truck had rushed to the area and police cordoned off the road. Two police helicopters buzzed overhead. 

While details were preliminary and the investigation still underway, the mayor said the suspect appeared to have been a lone wolf and not part of a wider plot.

A motorist drove onto a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Center memorial and struck several people on Tuesday police and witnesses said

A motorist drove onto a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Center memorial and struck several people on Tuesday police and witnesses said

Credit:
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

In the aftermath of the attack, shocked office workers stood at police cordons with children and parents on their way to Halloween parties.

One children’s’ party at a small park near the scene of the attack had to be cancelled as the area was secured by police. Dozens of children in fancy dress, many crying, were led away.

One of the mothers, Michelle Williams, said: “My kids are in complete shock. They don’t understand what’s happening. They have been looking forward to tonight for weeks – it’s supposed to be the most fun night of the year. I don’t know what I’m going to tell them. How do you explain this?”

The city’s main Village Halloween Parade went ahead as planned last night – but with an extremely heavy police presence. New Yorkers refused to be cowed by the attack.

“You can’t let the terrorists win,” said Sam Rosenthal, who was on his way to a Halloween party. “I think New York is like London – after something like this, you have to get on and live your life without fear. Otherwise they win.”

How the media has reacted

Uber says suspect passed background check

Uber has confirmed that the man suspected of carrying out the attack was one of its drivers.

The ride-hailing service released a statement on Tuesday night saying 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov passed a background check to become an Uber driver. Saipov has now been banned from the Uber app.

Sayfullo Saipov was an Uber driver

Sayfullo Saipov was an Uber driver

Credit:
@NYScanner/Twitter

The company says it has reached out to law enforcement to provide its full assistance and is “aggressively and quickly reviewing” the suspect’s history with Uber.

Uber says it is “horrified by this senseless act of violence.”

Suspect was a commercial truck driver

Records show Saipov was a commercial truck driver who formed a pair of businesses in Ohio after moving to the U.S, AP reports.

The first business, Sayf Motors Inc., used the address of a family friend near Cincinnati with whom Saipov had stayed for a couple of weeks after his arrival in the country. The second, Bright Auto LLC, used an address near Cleveland.

A trucking industry website listed Saipov at a Paterson, New Jersey, address that authorities were searching Tuesday night. Court records related to trucking-related infractions list Saipov with addresses in Paterson and the Cleveland suburbs.

Police investigate the scene of a pickup truck attack on the West Side Highway in Manhattan

Police investigate the scene of a pickup truck attack on the West Side Highway in Manhattan

Credit:
Reuters

The family friend with whom Saipov stayed in Ohio, Dilnoza Abdusamatova, told The Cincinnati Enquirer Saipov was “really calm” and worked hard.

“He always used to work. He wouldn’t go to parties or anything. He only used to come home and rest and leave and go back to work.”

Halloween parade goes on as normal

New York City’s always-surreal Halloween parade marched on Tuesday evening, hours after the truck attack.

Security was heavy as the Greenwich Village parade stepped off Tuesday about a mile (1.6 kilometers) away and four hours after the truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists along the bike path near the World Trade Center memorial. But the raucous spectacle rolled along with its floats, bands, anything-goes sensibility and thousands of spectators.

“I’m not going to let it scare me,” Cathryn Strobl, a 23-year-old New Yorker, said as she waited for the parade to start in her Buffy the Vampire Slayer costume. “You can’t let it stop you from living your life.”

NYPD officers stand guard during the 44rd Annual Halloween Parade in New York

NYPD officers stand guard during the 44rd Annual Halloween Parade in New York

Credit:
AFP

Five Argentinians killed

Argentina’s foreign ministry has confirmed and named the Argentinians killed in the New York terror attack. There were: Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij, and Hernán Ferruchi.

Minivan surrounded by police in New Jersey

Police investigating a rented Home Depot truck’s deadly rampage in New York have surrounded a white Toyota minivan with Florida plates parked in a New Jersey Home Depot lot.

AP reports that the van is parked near the company’s rental trucks. Officials say the man suspected of killing eight people and injuring 11 more on the bike path rented a truck from a Home Depot in New Jersey about an hour before Tuesday’s attack.

The man was shot by a police officer and is in custody in critical condition.

The Passaic (puh-SAY’-ihk) Home Depot remains open. The minivan is cordoned off.

Home Depot spokesman Matthew Harrigan says the company is “fully cooperating” with law enforcement. He says the company requires a driver’s license, insurance information and a credit card deposit to rent a truck.

US to ‘step up vetting’

Donald Trump has announced that he ordered Homeland Security to increase vetting of those entering the country. He did not elaborate.

‘Four Argentinians killed’

Infobae, an Argentinian news website, has reported that there were four Argentinians killed in the attack. It said they were a group of friends and a fifth member of the group was injured. 

Obama: New Yorkers are as tough as they come

Three Belgians injured in the attack

Didier Reynders, Belgium’s deputy prime minister, says three Belgians were also injured in the attack and are in the operating room. 

Photo of the suspect

The suspect in the terror attack has been identified by US media as Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbek national who lives in Florida.

Sayfullo Saipov

Sayfullo Saipov

Credit:
@NYScanner/Twitter

‘Argentinians’ among the victims

Argentina’s Foreign Ministry confirms ‘Argentine citizens died’ in the New York bike path attack. It doesn’t say how many. 

A timeline of ramming attacks

The attack was the latest involving a vehicle being used to mow down a crowd of people. 

Trump issues statement

Having responded first on Twitter, Mr Trump has issued a statement on the attack. 

One of the victims was Belgian

Didier Reynders, the deputy prime minister of Belgium, has announced that one of the victims in tonight’s terror attack was from Belgium.

Donald Trump: Attack carried out by sick and ‘deranged person’

The US president has given his first reaction to the attack on Twitter.

Attacker was carrying paintball gun

More details have emerged about the attacker from the NYPD press conference. 

The attacker is a 29-year-old man. He has not been named by police. 

He drove onto a bike path at Houston Street and drove south until Chambers Street – around 20 blocks – hitting pedestrians and cyclists. 

The driver then smashed into a school bus, injuring adults and children. 

He then emerged holding a a paintball gun and pellet gun. 

He was shot in the abodemen by a police offer and is now in hospital. 

New York Mayor condemns ‘cowardly act’

Bill de Blasio, the New York Mayor, has condemned the attack at the NYPD press conference. 

He called it a “very painful day in our city” and a “horrible tragedy”. 

“This was a cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives,” Mr Blasio said. 

He praised the spirit of the city, saying: “New Yorkers do not give in in the face of these kind of actions.”

New York Police Department press conference taking place

Eight confirmed dead, more than a dozen are injured. 

The incident has been described as a “tragedy of the greatest magnitude”.

A single officer who was near the incident when it happened is being praised for stopping the “carnage”. 

Eyewitness: ‘There was no screaming, people were in shock’

Jamal Lewis, a 17-year-old student who witnessed the attack told the Telegraph: “I was walking down West street and heard a loud noise behind me. I saw the white pickup truck run over two cyclists and carried on. People were around their bodies, but they were dead. There was no screaming, people were in shock.”

Here is a map showing where the incident took place

The point marked is roughly where the white Home Depot truck crashed. It is close to the World Trade Center memorial. 

There are reports that the truck had driven up to 20 blocks along a bike path before reaching this point, heading south. 

Driver shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’, according to claims

The phrase, which means ‘God is Great’ in Arabic, was said by the suspected attacker during the incident, it has been claimed. 

The reports are said to be the reason that the FBI and NYPD are now treating the incident as a terror attack. 

Incident being treated as a terror attack

Reuters has this:

The striking of pedestrians by a vehicle in lower Manhattan on Tuesday was being treated as a terrorist attack, two U.S. government sources said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the New York City police department in investigating the incident, the sources said.

Witness accounts are beginning to come in

A man who was riding in an Uber along the West Side Highway near Chambers Street said he saw several bleeding people on the ground after a truck struck several people. Another witness said the truck had also collided with a small bus and one other vehicle.

Tom Gay, a school photographer, was on Warren Street and heard people saying there was an accident. He went down to West Street and a woman came around the corner shouting, “He has a gun! He has a gun!”

Gay told Associated Press that he stuck his head around the corner and saw a slender man in a blue track suit running southbound on West Street holding a gun. He said there was a heavyset man pursuing him.

He said he heard five or six shots and the man in the tracksuit fell to the ground, gun still raised in the air. He said a man came over and kicked the gun out of his hand.

Uber driver Chen Yi said he saw a truck plow into people on a popular bike path adjacent to the West Side Highway. He said he then heard seven to eight shots and then police pointing a gun at a man kneeling on the pavement.

“I saw a lot of blood over there. A lot of people on the ground,” Yi said.

His passenger, Dmitry Metlitsky, said he also saw police standing near a man who was on his knees with his hands up, and another man bleeding on the ground nearby. He said the truck had also collided with a small school bus and one other vehicle.

New York Police Department statement

The New York Police Department’s official Twitter account gave a “preliminary” account of what happened on Tuesday afternoon. 

 “Earlier a vehicle entered the West St. pedestrian/bike path a few blocks north of Chambers St,” it read. 

“The vehicle struck multiple people on the path. There are several fatalities and numerous people injured.

“The vehicle continued south striking another vehicle. The suspect exited the vehicle displaying imitation firearms & was shot by NYPD.

“The suspect is in custody. This is preliminary, more information to follow.”