Suspected terrorist truck attack kills eight on New York bike path

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Investigators inspect a truck following a shooting incident in New York on October 31, 2017. (AFP)
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This handout photograph obtained courtesy of the St. Charles County Police Department on October 31, 2017 shows Saifullah Saipov, the suspectecd driver who killed eight people in New York on October 31, 2017.
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Law enforcement officers secure an area following an incident in New York on October 31, 2017. (AFP)
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Law enforcement officers secure an area following an incident in New York on October 31, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 01 November 2017
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Suspected terrorist truck attack kills eight on New York bike path

NEW YORK: A pickup driver killed eight people in New York on Tuesday, mowing down cyclists and pedestrians before striking a school bus, in the city’s first deadly attack blamed on terror since September 11, 2001.
Eleven others were seriously hurt when the truck driver struck in broad daylight just blocks from the 9/11 Memorial, on the West Side of Lower Manhattan, close to schools as children and their parents geared up to celebrate Halloween.
“This was an act of terror and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Reports citing law enforcement officials, have said the attacker left a note claiming allegiance to Daesh – according to the New York Times.
The officers said handwritten notes in Arabic were found near the vehicle. But no evidence has yet been found showing direct ties between the suspect and the Daesh jihadist group.
The New York Post report said that as well as the notes, investigators also found a picture of a Daesh group flag.
Law enforcement sources identified the perpetrator as Sayfullo Saipov, 29. He was arrested in Missouri on a traffic fine last year.
He is an Uzbek citizen who has been living in Tampa, Florida had recently been staying in New Jersey, where the truck was rented, reports said.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the president of Uzbekistan, told US President Donald Trump in a letter of condolences on Wednesday his country was ready to use all its resources to help investigate the deadly New York City attack.
The Tashkent government said earlier on Wednesday it was investigating reports that an Uzbek man was behind the attack which killed eight people and injured about a dozen in what US authorities said was an act of terrorism.
President Donald Trump denounced him as “very sick” and a “deranged person.”
Confronting what could be the most serious terror-related incident since taking power less than a year ago, the Republican commander-in-chief announced that he had ordered the Department of Homeland Security to step up his “extreme vetting program” on foreign travelers to the country.
The United States “must not” allow Daesh terrorists to “return, or enter” the country after being defeated overseas, Trump said, albeit as New York officials declined to link the assailant to a specific group.
Police said he drove a rented Home Depot pickup down a bike and pedestrian lane, where tourists and New Yorkers were out enjoying brilliant fall sunshine, at 3:05 p.m. (1905 GMT), before colliding with a school bus, wounding two adults and two children.
The suspect then exited the vehicle brandishing weapons that were subsequently identified as a paintball gun and pellet gun, before being shot in the abdomen by a police officer and taken into custody, police said.
Television footage showed the mangled wreckage of the pickup truck, bicycles crushed to smithereens and bodies wrapped in sheets and lying on the ground.
Eight people were killed, six of them men who died on the spot, and two others pronounced dead in hospital. Eleven other people were taken to hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries, officials said.
Five Argentines were among the dead, the Foreign Ministry said. Brussels said a Belgian woman was killed and three other Belgians were wounded.
European allies and Mexico’s president condemned the attack. “Together we will defeat the evil of terrorism,” said British Prime Minister Theresa May. French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “Our fight for freedom unites us more than ever.”
US media said the suspect shouted “Allahu akbar” and police chief James O’Neill confirmed that he made a statement 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,” O’Neill said.
He was later operated on and was expected to survive, US networks reported.
The FBI and New York police urged members of the public to come forward with any information that could assist the investigation, which the mayor said preliminary information suggested was a lone wolf assault.
The attacker struck in TriBeCa, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city. In the aftermath of the attack, worried parents and children were seen being evacuated from a nearby public school.
“There was a smell of gunshots,” said John Williams, 22, who arrived at the scene 30 seconds afterward en route to the park. “There was a man lying on the ground. It looked as if he’d been shot.”
“When the cops shot him, everybody started running away and it got a little bit crazy right there. So when I tried to look again, the guy was already down,” a witness who gave his name only as Frank told local television network NY1.
Heavily-armed police fanned out across the city of 8.5 million, home to Wall Street, Broadway and one of the biggest tourist draws in the United States.
Security was stringent at airports, bridges, tunnels and mass transit systems, with bag searches at Manhattan’s Grand Central transit hub and police stationed along a subway platform in Brooklyn.
A planned Halloween parade went ahead as scheduled, albeit under tight security and a large police presence, as State Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the new World Trade Center to be lit red, white and blue “in honor of freedom and democracy.”
Tuesday’s attack was the first deadly terror-related incident in the US financial and entertainment capital since the Al-Qaeda hijackings brought down the Twin Towers, killing more than 2,700 people on 9/11.
It came 12 months after a pipe bomb exploded in September 2016 in Chelsea, lightly wounding 31 people. An American of Afghan descent, Ahmad Khan Rahimi, was convicted of terrorism on October 16 in relation with that attack.
In May, a US Navy veteran plowed a car into pedestrians in Times Square, killing an 18-year-old woman and injuring 22 other people in what de Blasio said was not terror-related.
On May 1, 2010 Pakistani immigrant Faisal Shahzad planted a car bomb in Times Square that failed to explode. He was arrested after boarding a flight to the Middle East and sentenced to life behind bars.


N.Korea’s Kim to Putin: US acted in ‘bad faith’ at Hanoi talks

Updated 2 min 46 sec ago
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N.Korea’s Kim to Putin: US acted in ‘bad faith’ at Hanoi talks

  • At Hanoi, Pyongyang demanded immediate relief from US sanctions, but the two sides disagreed over what the North was prepared to give up in return
  • Russia has already called for the sanctions to be eased, while the US has accused it of trying to help Pyongyang evade some of the measures

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia: At his first summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un accused the United States of acting in “bad faith” at their most recent talks, state media in Pyongyang said Friday.
Kim and Putin met Thursday in the far eastern Russian port of Vladivostok, for their first summit — squarely aimed at countering US influence as Kim faces off with Donald Trump over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal.
Putin was keen to put Moscow forward as a player in a new global flashpoint — and it appears Kim was eager to take him up on the idea, during talks described by KCNA as “unreserved and friendly.”
The two leaders greeted each other warmly, shaking hands and sharing smiles, at the start of meetings on an island off Vladivostok that lasted nearly five hours.
Putin, known for delaying meetings with international guests, was waiting for Kim when he emerged from his limousine.
During the talks, Kim said “the situation on the Korean peninsula and the region is now at a standstill and has reached a critical point,” the Korean Central News Agency said.
He warned that the situation “may return to its original state as the US took a unilateral attitude in bad faith at the recent second DPRK-US summit talks,” the agency added.
“Peace and security on the Korean peninsula will entirely depend on the US future attitude, and the DPRK will gird itself for every possible situation,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying.
The Kim-Trump summit broke down in late February without a deal on North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.
At those talks, cash-strapped Pyongyang demanded immediate relief from sanctions, but the two sides disagreed over what the North was prepared to give up in return.
Russia has already called for the sanctions to be eased, while the US has accused it of trying to help Pyongyang evade some of the measures — accusations Moscow denies.
Just a week ago, Pyongyang demanded the removal of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from the stalled nuclear talks, accusing him of derailing the process.
On Thursday, Putin emerged from the meeting saying that like Washington, Moscow supports efforts to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula and prevent nuclear conflicts.
But he also insisted that the North needed “guarantees of its security, the preservation of its sovereignty.”
“We need to... return to a state where international law, not the law of the strongest, determines the situation in the world,” Putin said.
Kim said he hoped to usher in a “new heyday” in ties between Pyongyang and Moscow.
Both men said they were looking to strengthen ties that date back to the Soviet Union’s support for the founder of North Korea, Kim’s grandfather Kim Il Sung.
The two shared a lunch that included borscht, crab salad and venison dumplings, Russian news agency TASS reported.
The North Korean leader invited Putin to visit North Korea “at a convenient time” and the invitation was “readily accepted,” KCNA said.
Kim, who arrived in Vladivostok aboard his armored train, was expected to stay until Friday for cultural events that Russian media have reported will include a ballet and a visit to the city’s aquarium.
The meeting was Kim’s first with another head of state since returning from his Hanoi summit with Trump.
It followed repeated invitations from Putin after Kim embarked on a series of diplomatic overtures last year.
Since March 2018, the North Korean leader has held four meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, three with South Korea’s Moon Jae-in, two with Trump and one with Vietnam’s president.
Putin told reporters that he would fill in Washington on the results of the talks.
“There are no secrets here, no conspiracies... Chairman Kim himself asked us to inform the American side of our position,” said Putin.
There were no concrete announcements or agreements in Vladivostok, but analysts said Thursday’s meeting was valuable to both sides.
“For North Korea, it’s all about securing another exit. China talks about sanctions relief but it doesn’t really put it into action,” said Koo Kab-woo, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.
“For Russia, North Korea is elevating it back to one of the direct parties, on the same footing as China.”
Among the issues that were likely discussed was the fate of some 10,000 North Korean laborers working in Russia and due to leave by the end of this year under sanctions.
Labour is one of North Korea’s key exports and sources of cash. Pyongyang has reportedly asked Russia to continue to employ its workers after the deadline.
Soon after his first election as Russian president, Putin sought to normalize relations with Pyongyang and met Kim Jong Il — the current leader’s father and predecessor — three times, including a 2002 meeting also held in Vladivostok.
China has since cemented its role as the isolated North’s most important ally, its largest trading partner and crucial fuel supplier, and analysts say Kim could be looking to balance Beijing’s influence.
The last meeting between the leaders of Russia and North Korea came in 2011, when Kim Jong Il told then-president Dmitry Medvedev that he was prepared to renounce nuclear testing.
His son has since overseen by far the country’s most powerful blast to date, and launch of missiles which Pyongyang says are capable of reaching the entire US mainland.