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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Trump decries New York attack as act of madness

US president Donald Trump said that he requested Homeland Security to step up 'our already extreme vetting programme'

Police investigate a pickup truck used in an attack on the West Side Highway in Manhattan, New York, US, on November 1, 2017. Andrew Kelly / Reuters
Police investigate a pickup truck used in an attack on the West Side Highway in Manhattan, New York, US, on November 1, 2017. Andrew Kelly / Reuters

Information about the victims in the deadly truck rampage in lower Manhattan on Tuesday was starting to emerge, as president Donald Trump condemned the apparent terror attack that killed eight people in his hometown.

Mr Trump decried Tuesday’s attack as an act of madness, adding that he requested Homeland Security to step up “our already extreme vetting program”.

"In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person," Mr Trump tweeted. "Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!"

He also said that the United States must not let ISIL return to or enter the country after they are beaten outside.

"We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!" Mr Trump tweeted.

Meanwhile, Argentina’s foreign ministry said that five friends from the country were among the dead, and one was in stable condition being treated at hospital. They were in New York to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation.

The ministry identified the five victims as Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi.

Belgium’s deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister Didier Reynders confirmed that at least one of the eight killed on Tuesday was a Belgian woman and three other citizens were injured.

He said on Twitter: “I am deeply saddened to announce a Belgium victim in Manhattan — I express my condolences to the family and friends.”

The two other people who died have not yet been identified.

Early eyewitness reports suggested the attacker ploughed into cyclists and pedestrians in Lower Manhattan and shouted "Allahu akbar" before being shot by police. He was transported to hospital, where he is under police guard and is expected to live.

If confirmed, it would be the first act of terror since Mr Trump came to office, although there have been several mass shootings and politically motivated murders.

Six died at the scene and two died before reaching hospital. A further eleven cyclists and pedestrians were also injured after the male suspect, who is believed to be 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov — an Uzbek national from Tampa, Florida — drove a rented pickup vehicle the wrong way down a two-lane bike highway on the west side of Manhattan, right next to the 9/11 memorial site.

After colliding with a school bus at Chambers Street, Mr Saipov, who came to America in 2010, exited the vehicle brandishing two handguns.

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Screams, gunshots … then 8 people lay dying and new 'Lone Wolf' had made his cowardly mark

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President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev said on Wednesday in a letter of condolences to Mr Trump that his country was ready to use all its resources to help investigate Tuesday’s deadly attack.

Mr Trump came to office vowing to be "tough" on what he dubbed "radical Islamic terrorism”.

He has curbed the number of migrants and refugees coming into the country, particularly from Muslim-majority nations, despite experts saying they pose almost no risk to Americans.