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The Manhattan terror attack: What we know and don't know

Law enforcement officials said that as the attacker ran from the truck, he was heard yelling, 'God is great' in Arabic

James Barron | NYT 

Photo: Twitter
Photo: Twitter

Eight people were killed on Tuesday when a rented pickup truck plowed down a bike lane that runs along the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan, officials said. The pickup smashed into a school bus before the driver jumped out and was shot by a police officer, the authorities said.

Law enforcement officials said that as the attacker ran from the truck, he was heard yelling, “God is great” in Arabic.

What we know

• Officials called it a terrorist attack, but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said at a briefing, “There’s no evidence that suggests a wider plot or a wider scheme.” He said the episode was “the action of one individual who meant to cause pain and harm and probably death, and the resulting terror.” The police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, added, “This incident is over.”

• The driver was identified as Sayfullo Saipov, 29. He was shot in the abdomen and was in critical condition on Tuesday night. The authorities said he came to the United States in 2010 and was a permanent legal resident. Three officials said Mr. Saipov had previously come to the federal authorities’ attention as a result of an unrelated investigation.

• Federal law enforcement authorities took the lead in the investigation. Two law enforcement officials said that investigators discovered handwritten notes in Arabic near the truck that indicated allegiance to the Islamic State. But as of Tuesday night investigators had not uncovered evidence of any direct or enabling ties between Mr. Saipov and the militant group and were treating the episode as a case of an “inspired” attacker.

• Six of the eight people who were killed were pronounced dead on the West Side Highway, said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. He said the two were pronounced dead at a hospital. Officials are calling the episode the deadliest terrorist attack on City since Sept. 11, 2001.

• Commissioner Nigro said 11 people were taken to hospitals with serious but not life-threatening injuries. who were injured may have left the scene on their own, he said.

• The authorities said that when the driver jumped out of the pickup truck he had fake weapons: a paintball gun and a pellet gun.

What we don’t know

• The identities of the victims. The Belgian and Argentine governments, however, have said their citizens were among them.

• Exactly where the attacker rented the pickup truck, which had a Home Depot logo and came from New Jersey, according to the authorities.

• What the assailant’s motivation was, whether the attack was planned or spontaneous, or whether he had a particular target in mind and how close he came to it.

• Where he had been before he turned onto the West Side Highway — more specifically, when he had arrived in Manhattan and whether he had had time to scout the neighborhood along the West Side Highway.

• Why the police said he acted alone.
©2017 The Times News Service

First Published: Wed, November 01 2017. 08:53 IST
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