New York truck attack: First picture emerges of terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov

Driver reportedly cried 'Allahu akbar' as vehicle ploughed into pedestrians in Manhattan

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 01 November 2017 07:31
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New York terror attack: What we know so far

The man accused of killing eight people by driving a truck down a busy New York cycle path was an Uber driver who may have lived in New Jersey after emigrating from Uzbekistan seven years ago.

As New York City reels from its latest terror atrocity, police have issued the first picture of their suspect, 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov.

Records show Saipov was a commercial truck driver who formed a pair of businesses in Ohio. He had also driven for Uber, the company said.

Sayfullo Saipov is suspected of mowing down pedestrians and cyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Centre memorial St Charles County Department of Corrections/KMOV via AP

An Ohio marriage license shows a truck driver with one of Saipov's addresses and his name, spelled slightly differently, married a fellow Uzbek in 2013.

During his time in Fort Myers, Florida, several years ago, Saipov was "a very good person," an acquaintance, Kobiljon Matkarov, told The New York Times.

"He liked the US. He seemed very lucky, and all the time, he was happy and talking like everything is okay. He did not seem like a terrorist, but I did not know him from the inside," Mr Matkarov said.

New York attack: Man 'drove truck into school bus with children inside'

He said Saipov later moved to New Jersey and began driving for Uber. San Francisco-based Uber said he started over six months ago.

An acquaintance, Dilnoza Abdusamatova, said Saipov briefly stayed with his family in a Cincinnati suburb upon immigrating.

"He always used to work," Ms Abdusamatova told The Cincinnati Enquirer. "He wouldn't go to parties or anything. He only used to come home and rest and leave and go back to work."

Uzbekistan told President Donald Trump it was ready to do everything it could to help investigate the attack.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev made the offer of help in a letter of condolence to Mr Trump, in which he condemned the attack as "extremely brutal" and said there could be no justification for such violence.

"From our side, we are ready to use all our power and resources to cooperate in the investigation of this terrorist act," Mr Mirziyoyev wrote in the letter, which was posted on his country's Foreign Ministry's website.

"We express our solidarity with the US people."

CNN and other US media said Saipov left a note saying he carried out the attack in the name of Isis and shouted "Allahu Akbar" - Arabic for "God is great" - when he jumped out of his truck.

Thousands of men from Central Asia have been fighting for Isis in Syria and Iraq, and Uzbek nationals or ethnic Uzbeks have carried out several attacks on civilians in Europe this year.

On New Year's day, an Uzbek gunman burst into a nightclub in the Turkish city of Istanbul and killed 39 people.

In April, an ethnic Uzbek man born in Kyrgyzstan blew up a metro train in the Russian city of St Petersburg, killing at least 15 people, including himself.

That same month, an Uzbek man rammed a truck into a crowd in Stockholm, killing four people.

Police said the attacker rented the truck at about 2pm at a New Jersey Home Depot and then went into New York City, entering the bike path about an hour later and speeding toward the World Trade Centre, the site of the deadliest terror attack in US history.

He barreled along the bike path in the truck for the equivalent of about 14 blocks, or around eight-tenths of a mile, before slamming into a small yellow school bus.

Saipov was shot by a police officer after jumping out of the truck with two fake guns. He was whisked away to a local hospital, where he was recovering from an abdominal wound.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio described the attack as “a particularly cowardly act of terror” and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said it was perpetrated by a “lone wolf”.

Mr Trump tweeted: “In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person.”

He later added: “We must not allow Isis to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!”

Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “appalled by this cowardly attack” and that the UK stands with NYC.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson echoed her statement, adding: “We will not give in to terror.”

Former president Barack Obama tweeted: “Michelle and I are thinking of the victims of today's attack in NYC and everyone who keeps us safe. New Yorkers are as tough as they come.”

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