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Manhattan attack virtual replay of instructions in Islamic State magazine

Eight people were killed after a man driving a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path alongside the Hudson River in New York City .

world Updated: Nov 01, 2017 22:28 IST
Rezaul Hasan Laskar
Rezaul Hasan Laskar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Manhattan attack,Manhattan terror attack,Islamic State
Investigators inspect a truck following a shooting incident in New York on October 31, 2017. Eight people were killed and numerous others injured in New York when a suspect plowed a vehicle into a bike and pedestrian path in Lower Manhattan, and struck another vehicle on Halloween, police said.(AFP Photo)

The truck attack in Manhattan by an Uzbek man that killed eight people was carried out in a manner that was a virtual replay of instructions for such assaults in an Islamic State magazine last year.

Though the IS has not claimed the attack that injured almost a dozen others, US media reported authorities had found notes in Arabic near the truck that stated 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov acted in the name of the terror network led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In its November 2016 issue of Rumiyah magazine, the IS had given detailed instructions for carrying out truck attacks in an article titled “Just terror tactics”. Ironically, the article featured a photo of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, the world’s largest parade, with a caption describing it as “An excellent target”.

As part of preparation and planning for truck attacks, the article said that the attacker should assess a vehicle for roadworthiness, fill it with sufficient fuel, map out the route of the attack and survey the route for obstacles such as posts, signs, barriers, humps and bus stops.

“If accessible, a secondary weapon should be attained,” the article stated.

The article also gave instructions for the attacker to announce allegiance to the IS.

“Also, an appropriate way should be determined for announcing one’s allegiance to the Khalifah of the Muslims…so that the motive of the attack is acknowledged. An example of such would be simply writing on dozens of sheets of paper ‘The Islamic State will remain!’ or ‘I am a soldier of the Islamic State!’ prior, and launching them from the vehicle’s window during the execution of the attack.”

From reports of the attack, Saipov apparently followed all the instructions though he was unable to acquire a “secondary weapon”.

When Saipov emerged from the truck after ploughing through a bike lane and ramming into a school bus, witnesses said he was carrying what appeared to be firearms. After he was shot and captured, police found he had a paintball gun and a pellet gun.

The IS magazine also gave detailed instructions on how to choose a truck for such attacks and on suitable targets. Many of the details focussed on by the IS were aimed at maximising casualties, such as using a heavier vehicle with a metal outer frame.

Following the busting of a terror cell by the National Investigation Agency last year, it was found that a group of Indian jihadists, influenced by the IS, was planning to ram an explosives-laden vehicle into a gathering of religious leaders in Kerala’s Kochi. Police intervened and got the venue shifted to a building with better access control.

In July, a group of IS members and supporters focussed on Kashmir – Ansarul Khilafah Jammu Kashmir – had put out instructions in Hindi on its Telegram channel for carrying out attacks with large trucks, such as the ones in Nice and Berlin last year, along with potential targets.

Among the targets listed in the IS magazine were large outdoor conventions and celebrations, “pedestrian-congested streets”, outdoor markets, festivals, parades and political rallies.

“In general, one should consider any outdoor attraction that draws large crowds.

When deciding on the target, attention should be given to that target’s accessibility by the vehicle,” the article said.

Attackers should not only target “gatherings restricted to government or military personnel” as all “so-called civilian (and low-security) parades and gatherings are fair game”, it added.

First Published: Nov 01, 2017 09:55 IST