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Terror Attack

Police claim suspect 'felt good' about New York attack as Trump calls for him to face death penalty

Trump also refused to rule out sending the suspect to Guantanamo Bay.

Cabinet Meeting Us President Donald Trump. PA Images PA Images

THE UZBEK IMMIGRANT behind New York’s worst attack in 16 years confessed to acting in the name of the Islamic State group and “felt good” about the killings, having planned an assault for a year, investigators have said.

The shocking details emerged as federal prosecutors filed terrorism charges against Sayfullo Saipov, who subsequently appeared in court in a wheelchair — he had been shot in the abdomen by police — 24 hours after mowing down pedestrians and cyclists, and colliding with a school bus.

US President Donald Trump vowed an immediate crackdown on the visa program that he said allowed the 29-year-old to immigrate in 2010, saying he would “certainly consider” sending the suspect to the military detention centre in Guantanamo Bay and later calling for his execution.

The attack killed eight people, five of them childhood friends from Argentina celebrating 30 years since their high school graduation, a 31-year-old Belgian mother, and two US men, from New York and neighboring New Jersey.

Of 12 wounded, four remained in critical condition following the deadliest attack in America’s financial capital since the Al-Qaeda hijackings on 11 September, 2001.

Saipov first started planning an attack a year ago, before settling two months ago on using a truck to kill as many people as possible during Halloween celebrations, according to a federal terrorism complaint.

Prosecutors unveiled the charges, saying he had waived his rights and confessed to being inspired by IS propaganda, after yelling “Allahu akbar” upon exiting a rented pickup truck in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday.

“Saipov committed this attack in support of ISIS,” US acting Manhattan attorney Joon Kim announced, using an acronym to refer to the IS jihadist group.

Saipov appeared in a wheelchair before a US magistrate in Manhattan federal court, where the charges were formally read.

He was not required to enter a plea and was afterward sent to a federal detention facility, most likely in New York.

Bike Path Attack The Home Depot truck used in the bike path attack. Mark Lennihan / PA Images Mark Lennihan / PA Images / PA Images

‘Hang him’

He was found in possession of multiple knives in a black bag, a Florida driving license and two cell phones that contained thousands of IS propaganda images and dozens of IS propaganda videos, Kim said.

The files depicted “among other things, ISIS fighters killing prisoners by running over them with a tank, beheading them, and shooting them in the face,” Kim added.

“Saipov requested to display ISIS’s flag in his hospital room and stated that he felt good about what he had done,” the charging document revealed.

The complaint listed two counts: provision of material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organisation, and violence and destruction of motor vehicles. It was not immediately clear if he would face further charges.

Booking Report and Photo of Sayfullo Saipov Attack suspect Sayfullo Saipov. PA Images PA Images

Kim said the material support charge carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Federal prosecutors could also potentially seek the death penalty.

In the largely-Muslim neighborhood where Saipov lived with his wife and children for little over a year in the New Jersey town of Paterson, residents seethed with anger, furious he had besmirched their hard-working immigrant reputation.

“They should hang him!” snapped the manager of a launderette near his modest apartment.

“If you come to the US, it’s to do something better, not something bad!” she spat, refusing to give her name out of fear.


Trump denounced Saipov as an “animal” and said he was “starting the process of terminating” the popular green card lottery, which he said had enabled Saipov to enter the country.

“We have to do what’s right to protect our citizens,” the Republican president told reporters. “We will get rid of this lottery program as soon as possible.”

He later said on Twitter that the attacker “SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!”

Trump has already slashed the country’s annual refugee intake by more than 50%, tightened visa issuance around the world and attempted to ban travelers from 11 countries, most of them with Muslim-majority populations, but not Uzbekistan.

Saipov lived in Florida before moving to Paterson, a former industrial hub about 30 km northeast of New York.

Though it remains unclear whether Saipov acted alone, Cuomo has drastically stepped up security at airports, tunnels and Penn Station, which he called the busiest rail hub in the hemisphere.

Authorities announced they had found a second Uzbek they’d been seeking in their investigation — 32-year-old Mukhammadzoir Kadirov — but they provided no additional details.

Bike Path Attack Hallowed Ground The attack happened not far from the 9/11 memorial. Kathy Willens / PA Images Kathy Willens / PA Images / PA Images

In Manhattan, leaders vowed the annual marathon would go ahead as planned on Sunday. Police said the event, which attracts more than 50,000 runners and 2.5 million spectators, would be the most protected ever.

Uzbekistan, a majority Muslim country that borders Afghanistan and formerly part of the Soviet Union, is a landlocked country racked with poverty, corruption and a stifling authoritarian regime.

Saipov is the fourth Uzbek-linked man in less than a year blamed for deadly strikes overseas, following attacks in Istanbul, St Petersburg and Stockholm.Read: New York City attacker charged with terrorism offences.

Read: New York City attacker charged with terrorism offences >

Read: New York terror attack: Uzbek national Sayfullo Saipov in custody as police probe note left in truck >