Terror strikes New York City


New York attack Featured Image

October 31, 29-year-old Mr. Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov drove a rented pickup truck through crowds of people on a bike path that borders the West Side Highway and the Hudson River, according to The New York Times. The assailment, seen as the deadliest terrorist attack in New York City since September 11, 2001, left 12 injured and eight dead. 

A graphic showing the trajectory of the attack. Courtesy of washingtonpost.com.

After traveling approximately one mile on the bike path, Mr. Saipov rammed his rented pickup truck into a small school bus as it left Stuyvesant High School, one of the nine public specialized high schools of New York City. This initial crash injured two adults and two children. After the collision, Mr. Saipov began waving pellet and paintball guns as he ran up and down the highway, yelling “Allah Akbar.” In English, this phrase translates to “God is great,” according to The New York Times.
Mr. Saipov, born in Uzbekistan, moved to the United States in 2010. After moving from state to state, he settled in New Jersey with his wife and two children. According to The New York Times, Mr. Saipov previously caught the attention of federal authorities in an unrelated investigation.
Although terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have not yet claimed responsibility for the attack, authorities did find a note written by Mr. Saipov near the truck used in the onslaught. In his note, Mr. Saipov claims that he carried out the attack in the name of ISIS, according to CNN.
New York City Mayor Mr. Bill de Blasio thought Mr. Saipov’s strike was a terrorist attack, believing there is no other reason for his actions.
“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,” Mr. de Blasio said in an interview with CNN
Mr. Saipov appeared in a Manhattan federal courtroom November 1 in a wheelchair, claiming responsibility for the October 31 incident. He said that he chose Halloween afternoon to strike because he knew that there would be a lot more people in the streets, according to bbc.com. Since Mr. Saipov’s terrorist attack is one of the worst to hit New York City since September 11, 2001, it is not a coincidence that it occurred only a few miles away from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, according to The New York Times.
Mr. Saipov claimed that he had been planning the attack for almost a year, bringing many to conclude that he purposely chose the location of his onslaught to be near the memorial dedicated to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, according to The New York Times. Mr. de Blasio addressed the resilience that New Yorkers have even after tragedies such as this recent attack.
Suspect Sayfullo Saipov after Missouri State Highway Patrol arrested him in 2016. Courtesy of CNN.

“We have been tested before as a city very near to the site of today’s tragedy, and New Yorkers do not give in in the face of these kinds of actions,” Mr. de Blasio said in an interview with time.com. “We’ll respond as we always do. We will be undeterred.”
President of the United States Mr. Donald J. Trump took Mr. Saipov’s attack as an opportunity to enforce his immigration policy. The onslaught in Manhattan is the first attack carried out by a foreign-born individual since Mr. Trump’s inauguration in January.
In a White House Cabinet meeting Wednesday, November 1, the day after the attack, Mr. Trump said that he wants to discontinue the Diversity Visa Lottery. This lottery gives out approximately 50,000 visas to individuals from countries that rarely send immigrants to the United States, according to CNN.
During a public appearance, Mr. Trump spoke about needing to make the prosecution and punishments of terrorists harsher.
“We need quick justice, and we need strong justice, much quicker and much stronger than we have right now,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with The New York Times.  
While Mr. Trump is focused on tightening immigration policies to prevent future attacks, most government officials believe that this is a time for New Yorkers to unite and come together.
The Argentine and Belgian flags waving near the bike path that Saipov targeted. Courtesy of The New York Times.

Of the eight victims who died in the attack, five were tourists from Argentina and one was a tourist from Belgium. The foreign ministries of Belgium and Argentina confirmed the victims’ nationalities. The Argentine visitors were spending their 30th high school graduation reunion in New York City, according to washingtonpost.com.
Sophomore Valentina Grether ’20, who was born in Argentina, did not know any of the victims personally, but she feels connected to them through their shared nationality.
“Something that was particularly shocking to me was that, even though these five men were from a different province [of Argentina], somehow I was loosely connected to them. Even though I had no direct relation to the victims, my mom’s cousin in Argentina knew one of the men who passed away,” Valentina said. “In Argentina, it is a common joke that you can’t walk down the street without running into someone you know, and it struck me to realize the truth behind this joke about how interconnected Argentines especially are.”
-Sydney Gallop, Staff Writer