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New York City Attacker ‘Chose a Corridor of Death’

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Around 2 p.m., 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov rented a truck at Home Depot in Passaic, New Jersey. The 29-year-old Saipov — an Uzbek national from Tampa, Florida —came to America in 2010. He took the 75 minutes for $19.95 deal, the sum advertised on the side of the vehicle. He paid a $50 deposit and departed, leaving behind his car. He took the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan and started down the West Side Highway, reported The Daily Beast (US).

Just after 3 p.m., he reached Houston Street and veered onto the bicycle path that runs along the Hudson River. He then proceeded downtown at a high rate of speed.

“He comes flying down,” a senior law enforcement official later told The Daily Beast. “Very high speed. He’s just flying down, hitting whatever he can. If you don’t hear him coming, you have earbuds on or you’re not paying attention…”

The official noted—as Saipov almost certainly had in choosing his target—that the path is bordered in many places by a low stone wall or fencing.

“He had found himself a corridor of death,” the official said. “All he had to do was point it and aim… If he’s aiming at you, there’s only a limited chance of getting out of the way.”

Saipov sped on for nearly a mile. People who were bicycling toward him had at least a startled instant to try to save themselves. Those bicycling downtown may never have known what hit them, as the sound of the approaching truck could likely have been masked by that of the traffic speeding along the parallel West Side Highway.

Six were dead and two more were beyond saving when Saipov came to where the bicycle path crossed Chambers Street, just up from the World Trade Center and one block from Public School 234.
There, the truck broadsided a school bus that ferries special needs kids. Two children and two adults aboard the bus were injured. Saipov is said to have leapt from the car holding what appeared to be two handguns.

“Allah akbar!” he was heard to cry.
He left in the street beside the truck two sheets of printer paper on which he had handwritten the same message multiple times.

“‘The Islamic state shall endure forever’ or ‘The Islamic State forever,’ depending on how you translate the Arabic,” the official said.

The official added, “He went right out of the ISIS playbook: Get a car, better yet get a truck, run people down until you can’t. Have a weapon so you can continue your attack and achieve martyrdom… Have something on hand to claim credit for ISIS.”

Saipov may even have heeded an online call by one ISIS element to stage attacks on Halloween. He seemed ready for the martyrdom part when uniformed Police Officer Ryan Nash approached and ordered him to drop the weapons. Saipov refused. Nash shot him.

After Saipov was cuffed, police discovered one part of his plan that diverged from the ISIS instructions.
“They didn’t say ‘Have a fake gun,’” the official later noted.

In fact, Saipov proved to have two fake firearms, a pellet gun and a paintball gun. He also failed to achieve martyrdom and was conscious when he arrived at Bellevue Hospital. He did not respond when detectives questioned him.
“He wasn’t talking,” the official reported.

The questioning stopped and the doctors intubated Saipov. He is expected to recover.
Back at the scene, the sound of the officer’s gunshot had reached Rachel Elderfield as she was nearing Public School 234 to pick up her 8-year-old son, Hudson. She broke into a run to get there, but a call had already gone over the radio regarding all the schools in the immediate area of the attack.

“Put them in lockdown!” a commander ordered.
The children were herded inside, and Elderfield could only wait outside as the afternoon filled with more sirens than had been heard in this neighborhood since 9/11. The air crackled with urgent calls coming the radios of the arriving cops.

“No outstanding perps. We have one perp in custody at this time.”
“Was the perp shot by an MOS [Member of Service]?”
“Perp on the way to Bellevue [Hospital].”
“Extend the crime scene all the way down.”

Blue crime scene tape was stretched the full mile. White sheets were placed over the six who had been pronounced dead at the scene. At least two of the dead had been found with visible tire marks on their bodies. Two had died at the hospital. All eight dead were male, but that was probably a coincidence, as the driver had not likely been making distinctions as to who he hit. Five of them were from Argentina, celebrating with a trip to New York their graduation from high school 30 years before. A sixth victim was from Belgium.

***

Argentina’s foreign ministry said that five friends from the country were among the dead, and one was in stable condition being treated at hospital. They were in New York to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation, reported The Nation (UAE).

The ministry identified the five victims as Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi.

Belgium’s deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister Didier Reynders confirmed that at least one of those killed was a Belgian woman and three other citizens were injured.

He said on Twitter: “I am deeply saddened to announce a Belgium victim in Manhattan — I express my condolences to the family and friends.”

Meanwhile, Mr Trump decried Tuesday’s attack as an act of madness, adding that he requested Homeland Security to step up “our already extreme vetting program”.

"In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person," Mr Trump tweeted. "Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!"

He also said that the United States must not let ISIL return to or enter the country after they are beaten outside.

"We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!" Mr Trump tweeted.

Early eyewitness reports suggested the attacker ploughed into cyclists and pedestrians in Lower Manhattan and shouted "Allahu akbar" before being shot by police. He was transported to hospital, where he is under police guard and is expected to live.

If confirmed, it would be the first act of terror since Mr Trump came to office, although there have been several mass shootings and politically motivated murders.

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