Investigators are still attempting to piece together all of the details following the recent terror attack in New York City, in which an Uzbekistan-born man drove a rented truck into a group of pedestrians killing eight and seriously injuring 12. Their job has been made easier by the fact that the attacker, 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, survived the attack. After driving the rented truck up on a bicycle path and striking both cyclists and pedestrians, Saipov crashed into a school bus and then leapt out of the vehicle brandishing fake weapons before eventually being shot in the stomach by a NYPD officer. The attacker was then taken to a nearby hospital where he underwent life-saving surgery and has since been providing investigators with more information about how and why he planned the attack.
According to sources close to the investigation, Saipov had been planning the attack for approximately one year after recently being radicalized by ISIS propaganda. Following the attack, police confiscated two cellphones from Saipov that contained more than 90 ISIS propaganda videos and thousands of images. Among the videos and images are scenes showing beheadings and calls for Muslims in the West to carry out attacks in retaliation for the deaths of Muslims in the Middle East at the hands of Western forces.
Saipov admits that he was first drawn to the group after seeing a video wherein ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi asks Muslims in America and elsewhere in the West whether they are doing enough to respond to the killings of their fellow Muslims in the Middle East. Eventually, Saipov decided to carry out an attack in New York City and then spent the next 10 or so months determining the best method before finally deciding to use a rented truck as a weapon. He chose Halloween Day as the date of the attack as he believed that there would be more people on the streets due to the holiday.
It seems that Saipov was so infatuated with the terror group that he asked if he could display an ISIS flag in his hospital room, and he also considered displaying ISIS flags on the front and back windows of the truck during the attack. However, he eventually decided against this as he didn’t want to attract too much attention before he could actually carry out his plan. In the aftermath of the attack, police found a note written in Arabic and English near the truck, which said that ISIS will endure. For its part, ISIS has yet to claim any responsibility for the terror attack, which was the deadliest attack in New York City since 9/11. Nonetheless, Saipov admits that he was following the terror organization’s playbook for carrying out such an attack. In particular, he used information found in a monthly feature in the group’s magazine entitled ‘Just Terror Tactics,’ which shows precisely how to use a truck as a weapon to cause maximum damage and death.
The day after the incident, Saipov appeared in court in a wheelchair, where he refused to show any remorse and actually seemed happy about what he had done. During this initial court appearance, the attacker was charged with violence and destruction of motor vehicles and providing material support to a terrorist organization. Although it is still too early to tell what the outcome of his trial will be, US President Donald Trump is among those who have already called for the attacker to receive the death penalty.