8 dead as truck rams into New York crowd

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International desk, November 01: Five friends from Argentina were among those killed in a truck attack in New York on Tuesday.Eight people were killed and 11 injured when the driver of the truck hit people on a cycle path in Lower Manhattan.

A 29-year-old man, reported to be an Uzbek immigrant, was shot and injured by police as he left the vehicle.

US President Donald Trump has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to “step up” vetting measures in the wake of the attack.

The suspect reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”) as he left the truck. Officials said it was a terror attack – the deadliest in the city since the 11 September attacks.

A note was found in the truck that referred to so-called Islamic State, law enforcement sources were quoted as saying by US media.

The deaths of the five Argentines were confirmed by the country’s foreign ministry. They were part of a group of 10 friends in New York to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their graduation from a polytechnic college in the central city of Rosario, Argentine media said.

One of the men who died, steel firm owner Ariel Erlij, helped pay for the friends’ trip, La Nación newspaper reported (in Spanish).

Argentina’s foreign ministry named the men – all reportedly aged 48 or 49 – as Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damian Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernan Ferruch. Another of the friends, Martin Ludovico Marro, is being treated in hospital.

Three days of mourning have been declared in Rosario, Clarín newspaper reported. President Mauricio Macri expressed his “deep condolences” for the victims’ families on Twitter.

A Belgian national was also killed, Belgium’s foreign minister said. Two other victims have not yet been identified.

Police said a 29-year-old male driver of a rented pick-up truck entered a busy bicycle path on the West Side of Lower Manhattan shortly 3:05pm (19:05 GMT), striking a number of people along the route.

The truck then crashed into a school bus, injuring at least two children and two adults.

After the collision, the driver exited the vehicle brandishing two imitation guns, at which point he was shot by a police officer.

The suspect was wounded in the abdomen and transferred to a local hospital, James O’Neill, police commissioner, told the same press conference.

A paintball gun and a pellet gun were recovered from the scene. There was no information about the suspect’s motive.

Source: Agencies