Officials in New York reportedly said they were treating the fatal attack in south Manhattan was a “terrorist attack” and the FBI had taken charge of the investigation.
Police said that up to six people were killed after a pickup truck slammed into 15 people as it was driven down a bike path located alongside the Hudson River. The New York Police Department said the man believed to have driven the vehicle, then exited and starting displaying what subsequently emerged to be imitation firearms.
Police said the man was shot in the leg by police and taken into custody. There was no immediate update on the person’s condition.
As speculation swirled as to who was responsible for the incident and what may have been the motive, Reuters quoted a law enforcement source as saying the attack was believed to be a terrorist incident. There was no official confirmation of this.
In May, one person was killed and 22 were injured after a car rammed into pedestrians in Times Square. There was initial speculation that the incident was terror related, but it later emerged the driver was allegedly drunk.
A police spokesman posted a photo showing a white pickup truck on the bike path with its front end smashed. The truck had the logo of the Home Depot hardware store chain on its door.
An witness told ABC Channel 7 that he saw a white pick-up truck drive south down the bike path alongside the West Side Highway at full speed and hit several people. The witness, who was identified only as Eugene, said bodies were lying outside Stuyvesant High School, one of the city’s elite public schools.
He also reported hearing about nine or 10 shots, but was not sure where they came from. A video apparently filmed at the scene and circulated online showed scattered bikes on the bike path and two people lying on the ground.
President Donald Trump and City Hall said Mayor Bill de Blasio had been briefed about the incident. The office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the governor was heading to the scene.
Nobody has made a claim of responsibility for the incident in New York and Isis’s evening “news bulletin” did not mention the attack.
In recent years, Isis has encouraged supporters to make use of whatever weapons they can to carry out attacks, and there have been a series of incidents – a number of them subsequently claimed by Isis – in which attackers have made use of vehicles.
The first terror attack using a lorry came in Nice, where an Isis supporter killed 86 people in July 2016.
Vehicles have since been used in attacks in Berlin, Stockholm, London, Paris, Spain and the Canadian city of Edmonton.
The group’s propaganda has cited pedestrianised areas and crowded streets as prime targets after declaring murdering civilians “halal”, meaning permissible under Islam.
An issue of its Rumiyah propaganda magazine released in November 2016 cited the Nice attack as a “superb demonstration” and urged jihadis behind the wheel to carry a “secondary weapon, such as a gun or a knife” to continue massacres after crashing.
In June 2017, an attack on London Bridge killed eight people were killed and 48 were injured, including four unarmed police officers who attempted to stop the assailants. The three attackers, who wore fake explosive vests, were later shot dead by police.
In August, Spain was hit hit by its worst terror attack in more than a decade when a van driver plowed into dozens of people enjoying a sunny afternoon on one of Barcelona’s most famous thoroughfares, killing 13 people and injuring 80.