BUENOS AIRES – President Mauricio Macri called on Wednesday for a “total commitment in the fight against terrorism” following the attack on pedestrians and cyclists in New York that killed eight people, including five Argentines.
The victims include “five young entrepreneurs from (the city of) Rosario. I can imagine their beautiful families. This has hit all Argentines and myself, in particular, hard,” Macri said.
Speaking at the opening of a financial conference in Buenos Aires, Macri expressed his condolences to the victims’ families and said that the “challenges posed by organized crime have grown.”
“This reminds us, also, that there are no gray areas in today’s world. We must all be fully committed in the fight against terrorism,” Macri said.
“Here, we are all committed to a frontal struggle but, although we have achieved progress and there is a well-coordinated effort, results have not been what we expected,” the president said, adding that his administration had enacted “structural reforms to strengthen operations by the country’s security forces.”
On Tuesday, Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant, allegedly used a pick-up truck to run down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike trail in Lower Manhattan along the Hudson River, killing eight people and injuring at least 12 others.
Five of the victims were Argentines who had traveled to New York to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their graduation from the Rosario Polytechnic School, the Argentine Foreign Ministry said.
Saipov, who entered the US through a diversity visa program, is “associated” with the Islamic State jihadist group, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old Saipov left notes in the rented truck in which he pledged his loyalty to IS, Cuomo said.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) said on Wednesday that the suspect was following instructions provided by IS over social media in staging the attack.
The suspect yelled “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) when he came out of the truck after running over his victims and then crashing the vehicle into a school bus, eyewitnesses said.
Saipov was shot and wounded by a police officer, and he was taken to a hospital.