‘US hitting Daesh much harder after NY attack’

Pedestrians and bicyclists stop to photograph a memorial on West Street two days after a man driving a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path alongside the Hudson River, in New York, U.S., on Thursday. (REUTERS)
Updated 04 November 2017
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‘US hitting Daesh much harder after NY attack’

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK: President Donald Trump said the US military has stepped up its attacks against Daesh following Tuesday’s New York City truck attack.
The alleged attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, told FBI interrogators that he was inspired by the terrorist group, and Trump tweets that the group claimed him as “their soldier.”
Trump says, “Based on that, the Military has hit ISIS “much harder” over the last two days. They will pay a big price for every attack on us!”
It is not immediately clear whether Trump approved any direct retaliatory strikes following the attack.
The president is calling Saipov a “degenerate animal.”
Daesh has claimed responsibility, without providing proof, for a truck attack earlier this week that killed eight people in the deadliest assault on New York City since Sept. 11, 2001.
The militant group on Thursday described accused attacker Sayfullo Saipov, 29, as “one of the caliphate soldiers” in a weekly issue of its Al-Naba newspaper.
The Uzbek immigrant was charged in federal court on Wednesday with acting in support of Daesh by plowing a rented pickup truck down a popular riverside bike trail, crushing pedestrians and cyclists and injuring a dozen people in addition to those killed.
Saipov told investigators he was inspired by watching Daesh propaganda videos on his cellphone, felt good about what he had done, and asked for permission to display the group’s flag in his room at Bellevue Hospital.
Saipov was taken to Bellevue after being shot in the abdomen by a police officer before his arrest.
Earlier this week, Trump suggested sending Saipov to the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba, where terrorism suspects apprehended overseas are incarcerated. But on Thursday, he said doing so would be too complicated.
The US president has also urged Congress to end the Diversity Immigrant Visa program under which Saipov entered the US in 2010.
The diversity program, signed into law in 1990 by Republican President George H.W. Bush, was designed to provide more permanent resident visas to people from countries with low US immigration rates.
Five Argentine tourists, a Belgian woman, a New Yorker and a New Jersey man were killed in Tuesday afternoon’s attack.
One of the two criminal counts Saipov faces, violence and destruction of motor vehicles causing the deaths of eight people, carries the death penalty if the government chooses to seek it, prosecutors said.
Saipov waived his right to remain silent or have an attorney present when he agreed to speak to investigators from his hospital bed, the criminal complaint said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has said it has located another Uzbek man, Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, 32, who it said was wanted for questioning as a person of interest in the attack.
Citing an unnamed law enforcement official, ABC News reported on Friday that Saipov placed a telephone call to Kadirov immediately before he carried out the attack. ABC News said the significance of the call was not known.


Trump’s nominee for UN ambassador withdraws -State Department

In this Aug. 9, 2017 file photo, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington. (AP)
Updated 18 sec ago
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Trump’s nominee for UN ambassador withdraws -State Department

  • The UN post has been vacant since the start of the year after Nikki Haley, a former governor seen as a rising star in Republican politics, decided to leave after two years in the position

WASHINGTON: Former Fox News anchor and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Saturday that she has withdrawn from consideration to be the next US ambassador to the United Nations.
“The past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw,” Nauert said in a statement.
The abrupt statement, issued in the evening of a holiday weekend, came after weeks of often mocking criticism of the nomination of Nauert, who had no foreign policy experience until two years ago when she was named State Department spokeswoman.
Opponents questioned whether Nauert, despite her poise at the podium, had the gravitas and skill to go head-to-head on complex international issues with seasoned diplomats from adversaries such as Russia.
President Donald Trump, an avid viewer of conservative-leaning Fox News where Nauert was once an anchor on morning show “Fox and Friends,” told reporters in December that he wanted her to be UN ambassador.
Her nomination, however, was never formally submitted to the Senate and she has vanished for over two months as she prepared for a confirmation hearing — and, eventually, the top diplomatic job.
With Trump’s Republican Party in control of the Senate, her nomination had not seemed to be in serious risk, barring any disclosure that had not been made public.
State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said that Trump would put forward a new name “soon.”
The UN post has been vacant since the start of the year after Nikki Haley, a former governor seen as a rising star in Republican politics, decided to leave after two years in the position.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Nauert in a statement, saying that he had “great respect” for her “personal” decision to withdraw.