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Manhattan truck attack: 7 things we know about suspect Sayfullo Saipov

Sayfullo Saipov, who was hospitalized after he was shot by a police officer and arrested, confessed to authorities that he made a trial run with a rental truck on October 22 and “stated that he felt good about what he had done”.

world Updated: Nov 02, 2017 13:24 IST
Rezaul Hasan Laskar
Rezaul Hasan Laskar
Hindustan Times
Manhattan truck attack,Saipov,Uzbek
Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in the New York City truck attack, is seen in this courtroom sketch appearing in Manhattan federal courtroom in a wheelchair in New York, NY, US, on November 1, 2017. (Reuters Photo)

Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in the Manhattan truck attack, has appeared in court in a wheelchair to face federal terror charges, including providing material support to the Islamic State and violence and destruction of motor vehicles.

After mowing down eight people in a bicycle lane with a pickup truck, the 29-year-old man from Uzbekistan left handwritten notes in English and Arabic near his vehicle pledging allegiance to the terror network headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Here are things we know about Saipov from the complaint filed against him by the US department of justice in a court in New York:

1. Saipov began planning the attack about one year ago after being inspired by IS videos he had watched on his mobile phone. In particular, he was motivated by a video that featured al-Baghdadi questioning “what Muslims in the United States and elsewhere were doing to respond to the killings of Muslims in Iraq”. This video was apparently released by IS exactly a year ago.

2. The justice department complaint states that the attack carried out by Saipov was exactly like the acts of violence the IS has counselled followers to commit. The complaint also referred to the instructions given by IS in the November 2016 issue of its magazine Rumiyah for truck attacks.

3. The IS magazine had instructed potential attackers to obtain a “secondary weapon” like a gun or a knife to maximise the “kill count”. Though Saipov was found carrying a pellet gun and a paintball gun, he also had a bag with three knives, which he was unable to reach while exiting the truck, and a stun gun.

4. Saipov hired a truck on October 22 so that he could practice for the attack, especially in making turns with the vehicle. The complaint said he chose Halloween to carry out the attack because “he believed there would be more civilians on the street for the holiday”.

5. Saipov wanted to display IS flags “in the front and back of the truck for the attack, but decided against it because he did not want to draw attention to himself”.

6. While being questioned by law enforcement officials after he was shot and captured, Saipov “requested to display ISIS’s flag in his hospital room and stated that he felt good about what he had done”.

7. One of Saipov’s mobile phone contained about 90 IS propaganda videos, including videos of the execution of prisoners and one on how to make an IED, and 3,800 propaganda images.

First Published: Nov 02, 2017 13:23 IST