Lone wolf from Uzbekistan scared New York. Terrorist or insaner?
If Europe has become accustomed to acts of terrorism using cars as weapons, which in the past two years have been used by both individual fighters and groups of terrorists, there have been no such terrorist attacks in the United States so far.
A truck driver rammed several cyclists and pedestrians in the southwestern part of Manhattan, and after a collision with the bus he got out of the car with an object simulating a firearm. Eight people died, another 15 wounded, the driver himself was detained.
If Europe has become accustomed to acts of terrorism using cars as weapons, which in the past two years have been used by both individual fighters and groups of terrorists, there have been no such terrorist attacks in the United States so far. America uses firearms. Suffice it to recall the Las Vegas shooter. But we did not manage to get away from this tragedy in the USA, which became the largest in terms of the number of victims with the use of firearms (58 people killed and more than 200 wounded). And once again, on the eve of Halloween.
In the afternoon (about 3PM local time) in the southern part of Manhattan, the truck drove to the bicycle path and began to smash everyone who came across on his way.
Manhattan terrorist truck
After a few tens of meters, the truck driver collided with a school bus and ran out of the cab.
The road to the terrorist was blocked by a school bus
As eyewitnesses of the tragedy tell, he shouted: "Allahu Akbar", and in his hands he had pistols, he started shooting. Then the police stated he had fake weapons.
"The culprit was armed with a paintball gun," said local police chief James O'Neil. According to him, the policemen wounded the suspect, after which he was taken to a hospital.
As a result of the truck driver's attack, eight people died, and more than 15 were hospitalized with various injuries.
Saipov killed eight people
The incident occurred near the skyscraper One World Trade Center, built on the site of the destroyed in 2001 WTC twin towers. Soon the name of the terrorist became known - it was 29-year-old Sayfullo Habibulayevich Saipov, a native of Uzbekistan. As reported by the media, he lived in the city of Tampa, Florida.
Saipov moved to the United States by winning a green card in the lottery. This is reported by Santa Monica Observer. The Diversity Immigrant Visa program (Visas for Immigrants of Different Nationalities) is implemented by the US State Department. Winners of the lottery determines the computer by random choice algorithm. The program was repeatedly criticized, people repeatedly suggested to cancel it.
Immediately after the attack, the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, called the incident in Manhattan "a cowardly act of terror." "Based on the information available to this point, it was an act of terrorism, especially a vile act of terrorism," the Mayor said at a briefing. "The terrorist, most likely, had no accomplices, it is an action of a lone wolf," he said.
Another version was put forward by the President of the United States Donald Trump, who called the driver of the van mentally unbalanced person. He wrote about this in Twitter.
"In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!" Trump tweeted.
However, then Trump said that the US authorities would not let the terrorists of ISIS* into their country.
Saipov's acquaintances say that he was not like a radical Islamist, capable of a terrorist act.
"He's a very nice guy, very friendly. He is like a younger brother to me," resident of the city of Fort Myers (Florida), 37-year-old native of Tashkent Kobiljon Matkarov told the media, adding that he met Saipov about five years ago, shortly after Sayfullo arrived from Uzbekistan.
The only strange episode associated with the Manhattan terrorist, which Matkarov recalled, occurred in June. Kobiljon with his five children flew to his native Uzbekistan and asked Saipov, at that time working as a driver of Uber, to drive him to the airport. When it was time to say goodbye at the airport, Matkarov's son wanted to be photographed with Sayfullo for memory, but he refused.
"He did not like it, he said no," Matkarov explained, noting that Saipov as a whole was getting on well with his children.
At the same time, when inspecting the truck of Saipov, police found a note in Arabic in the cab. According to the New York Times, it said that he does fealty to the ISIS*.
So far, one thing is clear - Saipov acted alone. ISIS fighters in Europe followed the same tactics. Recall, in London in June a minivan hit a crowd on the London Bridge at a high speed; two people were killed, another 20 were injured. However, several people participated in the attack. It’s possible to recall other cases of ramming tactics.
In June 2015, near Lyon, a car with terrorists rammed the gates of an enterprise for the production of liquefied gas and crashed into gas cylinders. There was an explosion, several people were wounded. At the entrance to the factory a flag with Islamist slogans and the beheaded body of plant director Hervé Cornara were found.
July 14, 2016 ISIS terrorists on a heavy white truck rammed a crowd of Frenchmen who celebrated the anniversary of the liberation from the absolute monarchy, as well as foreign tourists who went to the embankment and joined the holiday on the famous English Quay in Nice. 86 people were killed, 308 were injured. The police shot the attacker. ISIS took responsibility for the incident.
December 19, 2016 - a terrorist act at the Christmas market in Berlin happened. A truck with a semitrailer drove into the crowd at Breitscheidplatz. After driving through the bazaar between the shops and breaking through the shopping arcade, the truck drove to the adjacent street again and soon stopped, after which the driver fled. As a result of the crash, 11 people died, and more than 50 visitors were injured. As a result of the inspection of the abandoned truck, the police went to the suspect - 24-year-old Tunisian Anisa Amri, who was killed near Milan during a shootout with local police five days later, on December 23.
March 22, 2017 - a terrorist attack in London, committed by a terrorist. The attack occurred when a car traveling along Westminster Bridge made a run on pedestrians walking along it, including three policemen. The car then crashed into a building near the Parliament, after which a driver armed with a knife attacked a policeman. Five people died.
On April 7, a driver on a stolen truck drove into a crowd of people on a pedestrian street in Stockholm. Four people died, 15 were injured. It is interesting that even the terrorist was citizen of Uzbekistan Rahmat Akilov - an ethnic Tajik. He lived in Sweden, he was a member of ISIS cell. In 2015, Akilov was detained on the Turkish-Syrian border and deported to Sweden.
When the ramming actions took place in Europe, experts stated that they were behind the so-called sleeping cells. These associations of Muslim radicals are called so because even on closer examination it is difficult to convict them of something illegal - just simple migrants or citizens of the country. In fact, it is usually supporters of radical views and ISIS fans. Mohamed Salmene Lahouaiej-Bouhlel , who was driving a truck in Nice, was a member of such a cell.
However, with regard to today's tragedy in the US, experts advise not to rush to conclusions.
"If he had weapons in his hands, then perhaps this is really a mentally unhealthy person." Until now, drivers-terrorists ran out of the car and either opened fire from firearms, or cut passers-by with knives after the first phase of their action, thus trying to increase the number of victims. The case in New York does not ‘fit’ in this scheme. The first interrogations of the arrested person will show which version is correct, they note.
Despite today's events, the New York authorities decided not to cancel the parade in honor of Halloween. The beginning of the holiday should take place around 5-6pm local time. At the same time, the authorities say that security measures during the parade will be strengthened.
*The organization is banned in Russia by decision of the Supreme Court.