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A multiple hit on Tuesday in a road for pedestrians and bicycles southwest of the island of Manhattan, in New York, left at least eight dead, of which five are Argentine.
The mayor of New York, Bill de Blassio, confirmed the balance of eight deaths in what he called a “particularly cowardly act of terrorism.”
“It’s a very painful day for our city, a horrible tragedy,” the mayor said in an appearance before the press shortly after the attack.
The government of Argentina, for its part, reported that among the fatalities there are five citizens of their country.
US media citing official sources identified the attacker as Sayfullo Saipov, 29, an immigrant from Uzbekistan who arrived in the country in 2010.
With a rented van, he climbed to the pedestrian area and, in a southerly direction, began to run over passers-by. He ended up crashing his vehicle against a school bus.
The truck was left with the front shattered by the impact. On the bike path, you could see the bicycles of their victims, destroyed.
The incident occurred around 3:05 in the afternoon (19:05 GMT) near schools where children celebrated the Halloween party.
The author of the events left his vehicle with two pistols. According to witnesses, the man shouted “Allahu Akbar”, “God is great” in Arabic, which is common in the perpetrators of Islamist attacks.
That was the moment when the police shot him and hit him in the stomach area. He was injured and is now in custody in a hospital.
In videos recorded with a cell phone by witnesses, he is seen running along the road with the objects in his hands.
At first it was said that the author’s arms were imitation. Then the police indicated that at the scene they found a paintball gun and another shotgun.
US media reported that in the van there was a handwritten note with references to the self-styled Islamic State.
Natalia Guerrero, BBC World New York
The police activity was still frantic at night at the intersection of Greenwich and Chambers streets, in the south of New York, one block from the place where the multiple hit occurred.
“I was in college, when a friend called and told me there had been a shooting on the way back,” says Samantha Alexandre, a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College, at BBC World, where the events took place.
“I went up to the library to see what was happening and I saw a lot of chaos around, I also saw the Home Depot pick-up, it was very sad,” he adds.
The bike path and pedestrian route where the truck ran over the victims is located in the Tribeca neighborhood, three blocks from the Freedom Tower building, which was built after the destruction of the Twin Towers, in another attack on September 11, 2001.
This exclusive area was developed as a kind of residential and commercial extension of the financial center of Manhattan after 2001, and has become a tour frequented by tourists, athletes and locals.
In the place, in addition to journalists there were young people making videos live for Facebook. A police officer asked several who were sending white supremacist and anti-Muslim messages to leave the scene.
The area of the attack, located in front of a park, was flooded with police patrols and ambulances.
Very close to the place there is a primary school. Numerous concerned parents gathered in front of the building to try to pick up their children.
Tony Vásquez, a security guard at a bank near the scene, told BBC Mundo that he went out to see what happened after a client told his manager that he had heard gunshots.
“Almost immediately it was full of policemen, they blocked the street, and it was all very crazy, it happened very fast”.
“I did not see the shots, but I arrived about 30 seconds later, there was a smell of gunpowder and a man lying on the ground, it looked like he had been shot,” said another witness, who identified himself as 22-year-old John Williams.
Another witness, who identified himself as Frank, told local television station NY1 that he saw a man running through an intersection, heard five to six shots and saw “about 100 policemen” flooding the street.
“I saw that I had something in my hand, but I could not say what it was, but they say it was a weapon, so I was like, ‘My God,'” he said.
“When the cops shot him, everybody ran away, he got a little crazy, so when I looked again, he was already on the ground.”
For his part, the Governor of the State of New York, Andrew Cuomo, spoke of a “lone attacker” and claimed that the authorities lacked evidence to think that the attack was part of a larger scheme.
The city has been put on alert since the attacks of the Twin Towers in September 2001.
“Very sick and disturbed person”
The White House reported that US President Donald Trump is being informed of the situation in New York.
According to government spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s “thoughts and prayers” are with those affected.
“He will continue to receive information as more details become known,” Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
The president also spoke about the events on Twitter, where he wrote: “In New York, it seems that there was another attack by a very sick and disturbed person, the security forces are following this closely, NOT IN THE UNITED STATES!”
Minutes later, he wrote another tweet: “We must not allow the Islamic State to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere.” Enough! “