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New York attack: Uzbekistan president offers to help US with suspect

1 November 2017 9:27 AM
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The Uzebkistan president on Wednesday offered to help US authorities in the investigation into the truck driver suspect, who is reportedly a Uzbek national, of the fatal New York truck attack.

"Uzbekistan is ready to use all forces and resources to help in the investigation of this act of terror," President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said, offering condolences to US President Donald Trump in a statement on the foreign ministry's website.

A pickup driver on Tuesday ran over cyclists and pedestrians before striking a school bus in the city's first deadly attack blamed on terror since September 11, 2001.

Television networks identified the 29-year-old perpetrator as an Uzbek citizen living in Florida. President Trump denounced him as "very sick" and "deranged".

Mirziyoyev's statement did not officially confirm the identity or nationality of the attacker.

"We condemn any forms and manifestations of extremism and terrorism," he said. "This merciless and very cruel crime cannot have any justification."

Uzbekistan, a poor majority-Muslim former Soviet state in Central Asia, has become a source of recruits for the Islamic State and other militant jihadist groups, along with other Central Asian countries.

The International Crisis Group estimated this year that between 2,000 and 4,000 militants from Central Asia may have signed up under the banner of IS.

The alleged perpetrator had been arrested in Missouri on a traffic fine last year.

The ride-hailing service Uber has confirmed Sayfullo Saipov was one if its drivers and had been driving for the company for more than six months.

Records show Saipov was a commercial truck driver who formed a pair of businesses in Ohio after moving to the US.

The family friend with whom Saipov stayed in Ohio, Dilnoza Abdusamatova, told The Cincinnati Enquirer Saipov was calm and hardworking.

"He wouldn't go to parties or anything. He only used to come home and rest and leave and go back to work."

Saipov entered the US legally in 2010 and holds a Florida driver's licence but could have been living in New Jersey.

Police shot him in the stomach after he leaped out of the vehicle while brandishing two fake guns. He has had surgery and is expected to survive.

Friend Kobiljon Matkarov told NBC News he met Saipov five years and described him as a happy married father who worked as a truck driver and "liked the US".

He is believed to have established a trucking company in Florida after moving there from Cincinnati six years ago.

The suspect rented a Home Depot truck in New Jersey about 2pm local time before driving into the bike path about an hour later. He is believed to be operating as a "lone wolf".

A marriage licence filed in Summit County, Ohio, lists a man by the name of Sayfulloh Saipov marrying Nozima Odilova on April 12, 2013.

Five Argentines were among the dead, the Foreign Ministry said. Brussels said a Belgian woman was killed and three other Belgians were wounded.

It is claimed the suspect left a note inside the ute which claimed he committed the attack on behalf of the so-called Islamic State (IS), according to US media.

During the attack, the suspect managed to drive a distance of about 20 blocks before heading back on to the road.

NYPD Police Commissioner James O'Neill said the suspect was shot in the stomach by officers after brandishing what appeared to be a pellet gun and a paintball gun, and was taken into custody.

He said the driver hit a school bus, injuring two children and two adults before getting out of the vehicle. The incident happened about 3:05 pm local time.

Commissioner O'Neill confirmed that the suspect made a statement that suggested terrorism as a motive when he exited the vehicle.

"If you just look at the M.O. of the attack, that's consistent with what's been going on. So that along with the statement has enabled us to label this a terrorist event," he said.


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