New York, Nov 2 (IANS) US federal prosecutors have filed terrorism charges against the suspect of Tuesday’s truck attack in New York which left eight dead and 13 others injured.
Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Joon Kim announced the charges at a news conference in New York on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.
The suspect – Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, 29, now in custody, faces two charges, namely, providing material support for a terrorist organization, specifically ISIS, and a federal charge of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle with willful disregard for human life.
If convicted, he could face life imprisonment or death penalty, according to Kim.
The suspect, an Uzbek immigrant, had been planning what is called the worst terror attack on New York City (NYC) since September 11, 2001, “for a number of weeks,” John Miller, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism, said at a press conference.
“He did this in the name of IS (Islamic State),” Miller said, citing some notes recovered at the scene.
On Tuesday afternoon, Saipov drove a pickup truck down a busy bike path in Lower Manhattan, killing 8 and injuring 13. He was shot by police and then sent to a hospital.
According to reports, he shouted “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is great” in Arabic.
“He appears to have followed almost exactly the instructions that IS has put out in its social media channels before… on how to carry out such an attack,” Miller said.
The investigation into the attack is “in its infancy,” and investigators do not yet have all the answers, NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill told the press conference.
Of the eight killed, five were from Argentina, one from Germany and the remaining two from the US, according to New York City Fire Department (FDNY) commissioner Daniel A. Nigro, who was also present at the press conference.
Of those injured, three have been released from the hospital, and four are critically injured but stable, Nigro said, adding the others are seriously injured.
The deadly attack seemed not to have daunted New Yorkers, evident in a large crowd showing up in all sorts of costumes in an annual Halloween parade in Manhattan.
“We will not be cowed. We will not be thrown off by anything,” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the press conference.
He added that Sunday’s NYC marathon would go on as scheduled, which would be “well protected”.
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