Trump says IS will pay ‘big price’ for each attack on US

The US President had earlier said the alleged attacker, Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov, 29, should be executed.

world Updated: Nov 03, 2017 23:57 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Donald Trump,Islamic State,New York attack
US President Donald Trump at a meeting with business leaders on tax reform at the White House in Washington, DC. (AFP File Photo)

President Donald Trump vowed to hit the Islamic State “ten times harder” every time it attacks the United States as he left for an Asia tour.

“What we’re doing is every time we are attacked from this point forward and it took place yesterday, we are hitting them ten times harder,” Trump told reporters before boarding a flight for Hawaii, his first stop before he heads out to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

“So when we have an animal do an attack like he did the other day on the West Side of Manhattan,” he added referring to the suspect in the truck attack, Sayfullo Saipov.

“We are hitting them ten times harder. They claim him as a soldier, good luck. Every time they hit us, we know it is ISIS, we hit them like you folks won’t believe.”

Trump will focus on terrorism on the trip, especially in Manila, at the 50th anniversary of Asean, on the sidelines of which he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The IS claimed responsibility late on Thursday for the terror attack in Manhattan that killed eight people and wounded a dozen more. A statement issued in the group’s weekly newsletter called Tuesday’s rampage “one of the most prominent attacks targeting Crusaders in America”.

It described Sayfullo Saipov, 29, as a “soldier of the Caliphate” and went on to say the attack was carried out in response to the group’s call to target “citizens of the Crusader countries involved in the alliance against the Islamic State”.

It was an uncharacteristically late claim for a group that in the past year has typically issued its statements within the first 24 hours after an attack. It was also not released through the IS’s Amaq news agency, which is usually the first to carry such statements.

And it marks a break with the usual pattern of not claiming responsibility for an attack when a suspect is in custody.

As the investigation continues, US authorities are increasingly focusing on a wedding in Florida two years ago attended by Saipov as a possible key to understanding whether he had personal ties to people connected to the Islamic State, law enforcement officials said.

‘Time running out’ with North Korea

During his trip to Asia, Trump is also expected to say the world is “running out of time” with North Korea and all nations need to do more.

The denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and North Korea will be the top issue for Trump during the trip followed by the need for “free and open” Indo-Pacific and “free, fair and reciprocal trade”, National Security Adviser HR McMaster said while previewing the tour.

“The president recognises that we’re running out of time and will ask all nations to do more,” McMaster said. Especially those countries that exercise more influence on Pyongyang, will have to convince North Korean leaders that the “pursuit of nuclear weapons was a dead end”.

“And he will remind friend and foe alike that the US stands ready to defend itself and our allies using the full range of our capabilities,” he said.

Trump’s focus on a “free and open”, rule-based Indo-Pacific, which he is expected to call for from Japan, his first stop on the 12-day tour, will be largely aimed at China, which has sought to restrict and regulate maritime and overflight in the region to enforce its claims in the disputed South China Sea.

India will be watching closely as it has had its own concerns about China’s aggression in the region and has joined other nations, including the US and Japan, to call for unrestricted air and maritime navigational rights.

China will also be prime target of Trump’s call for “free, fair and reciprocal trade”. He is expected to deliver a clear message that “for bilateral economic relations to be sustainable over the long term, China must provide fair and reciprocal treatment to US firms and cease predatory trade and investment practices”.

First Published: Nov 03, 2017 18:34 IST