Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant accused of plowing a truck down a New York City bike path, killing eight people, was a ‘soldier’ of the Islamic State group, the jihadists said, according to a US-based monitoring group.
A propaganda arm of the Islamic State group is calling the man charged in the New York City truck rampage a ‘soldier of the caliphate’, reported AP.
A message in an Islamic State weekly newspaper al-Naba used the term in an item published late Thursday. That item then was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Tuesday’s assault was the deadliest in New York City since September 11, 2001, when suicide hijackers crashed two jetliners into the World Trade Center, killing more than 2,600 people.
Confessing to authorities he told that he made a trial run with a rental truck on October 22 to practice turning the vehicle and ‘stated that he felt good about what he had done’ after the attack.
He also said that he had been inspired by watching Islamic State videos and began planning the attack a year ago.
Of those killed on Tuesday, five were Argentine tourists, who were among a group of friends visiting New York to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation, one was a Belgian citizen, one was a New York resident and one lived in New Jersey.
Saipov allegedly used a pickup truck rented from a New Jersey Home Depot store to run down pedestrians and cyclists along a 20-block stretch of the bike path that runs along the Hudson River before slamming into a school bus.
According to authorities, he then exited his vehicle shouting “Allahu Akbar” – Arabic for “God is greatest” – and brandishing what turned out to be a paint-ball gun and a pellet gun before a police officer shot him in the abdomen.
(With agency inputs)