New York attack: Uzbekistan immigrant charged with terrorism offences

New York attack: Firefighters spray water over the west side bike path in lower Manhattan, New York, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. Eight people were killed and 12 seriously injured in the Tuesday afternoon attack when, authorities say, Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old from Uzbekistan, barreled along the path in a pickup truck for more than a dozen blocks. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Top News

Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant accused of killing eight people in an ISIS-inspired assault here, was on Thursday charged with terrorism offences as authorities said he plotted the attack for months and chose to strike on Halloween to “inflict maximum damage against civilians”. Saipov, 29, was charged with providing material support to the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group and violence and destruction of motor vehicles. He is so devoted to the ISIS that he wanted to display the terror group’s flag in his hospital room, a 10-page complaint filed by the FBI before a federal court here against him shows. Eight people were killed and 11 others injured as his truck carved a path of destruction through several blocks of Lower Manhattan yesterday. Saipov crashed the truck into a school bus, left the vehicle brandishing imitation firearms.

He was shot by police. It was the the worst terrorist attack in on the city since 9/11. Saipov underwent a surgery in a New York hospital yesterday. He appeared in federal court today in a wheelchair and did not enter a plea. The FBI said that Saipov, a resident of New Jersey, was inspired by the ISIS to carry out the terrorist attack.

Local residents stand outside the apartment block where the suspect in Tuesday’s terrorist attack in New York lived between 1996-2006, according to police records, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. The window to the right on the ground floor is where Sayfullo Saipov lived. The president of Uzbekistan has sent his condolences to U.S. President Donald Trump and offered his country’s assistance in investigating Tuesday’s attack in New York by an Uzbek national. (AP Photo/Timur Karpov)

He “requested to display ISIS’s flag” in his hospital room and stated that he felt good about what he had done, the complaint said.

Saipov told investigators he was inspired by Islamic State videos, in particular one showing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, it said. The suspect decided to conduct a truck attack “to inflict maximum damage against civilians” and that he specifically chose to strike on Halloween “because he believed there would be more civilians on the street for the holiday,” it said.

He began planning an attack a year ago and decided two months ago to use a truck, officials said. He planned to use the truck to hit pedestrians in the area where he carried out the attack and “then proceed to the Brooklyn Bridge to continue to strike pedestrians,” the complaint said.

The driver identified by officials as an immigrant from Uzbekistan was in critical condition but expected to survive after a police officer shot him in the abdomen. (AP Photo)

“Saipov wanted to kill as many people as he could,” it said. “In particular, Saipov was motivated to commit the attack
after viewing a video in which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi… questioned what Muslims in the US and elsewhere were doing to respond to the killing of Muslims in Iraq,” it said.

The details painted a picture of a man who allegedly planned more carnage, US media reports said. During a search operation, federal officials obtained two cell phones from his possession. One cellphone contained approximately 90 videos, many of which appear to be, ISIS-related propaganda. The cell phone also contained approximately 3,800 images, many of which appear to be ISIS propaganda.

Community leaders speak as they hold an interfaith vigil for peace in response to Manhattan Attack at Foley square, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, in New York. Eight people were killed and 12 seriously injured in the Tuesday afternoon attack when, authorities say, Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old from Uzbekistan, barreled along the path in a pickup truck for more than a dozen blocks. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Internet search history of the second cell phone reflects, among other things, that Saipov searched for a store in Passaic in New jersey on October 4, searched for Halloween in New York on October 15, and searched for truck rentals on October 18, the complaint said.

After Saipov rented the truck from Home Depot, he entered the New York City. In carrying out the attack, Saipov relied on the playbook laid out by ISIS in recent years, officials said. “He appears to have followed almost exactly to a ‘T’ the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before, with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack,” John Miller, New York Police Department commissioner for intelligence and counter-terrorism, said at an earlier news conference.

A handwritten “document” found near the scene had both Arabic and English text, and included the message that the
Islamic State would endure, the complaint said. In the vicinity of a place where Saipov was shot, he dropped the weapons, which appear to be a paintball gun and pellet gun, and a black bag.

Inside the Bag, law enforcement officers recovered, among other things, three knives and a wallet. Hours after Saipov’s court appearance, President Donald Trump said he should be executed.

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