Saipov hit with federal terrorism offenses

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The suspect in New York’s deadliest terror attack since 9/11 has been charged with federal terrorism offenses in connection with Tuesday’s attack in Manhattan in which eight people were killed and at least a dozen people were injured, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said Wednesday.

The terrorist has been identified as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbekistan native who was living in New Jersey. He is charged with providing material support to ISIS and violence and destruction of motor vehicles, Joon H. Kim told reporters.

Saipov appeared in federal court in a wheelchair and didn’t enter a plea, a source at the U.S. Attorney’s Office told CNN.

What we know about the terrorist:

  • Saipov told investigators he was inspired by Islamic State videos, in particular, one showing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to the federal criminal complaint.
  • After planning the attack for a year, Saipov decided two months ago to conduct a truck attack in his efforts “to inflict maximum damage against civilians.”
  • The terrorist specifically chose to strike on Halloween “because he believed there would be more civilians on the street for the holiday,” the complaint states.
  • A cell phone owned by the terrorist contained approximately 90 videos, “many of which appear to be … ISIS-related propaganda.” The phone also had almost 4,000 images, many of which were ISIS propaganda, the FBI says in the complaint.
  • Handwritten “notes” found near the scene had both Arabic and English text and included the message that the Islamic State would endure, the complaint states.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Five Argentinian high school classmates, two young American men and a Belgian mother were killed in the attack, according to police.
  • President Donald Trump called Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to offer any federal assistance needed, Trump tweeted.
  • The suspect arrived in the United States in 2010 as part of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
  • An Uzbek national is being questioned in connection with the attack, law enforcement sources say. The individual, previously identified as Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, may have pertinent information and is possibly an associate of suspect Sayfullo Saipov.

In a press conference held on Wednesday, John Miller, NYPD deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, told reporters, “(Saipov) appears to have followed almost exactly to a ‘T’ the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before, with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack.”

The full complaint against Saipov can be seen here.

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