WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump warned Friday that the Islamic State will pay a high price for its attacks against this country, after the terrorist group asserted that the suspected perpetrator of the attack last Tuesday in New York is one of its soldiers.
In a series of tweets, Trump accepted that IS claim, aired in the latest edition of its weekly online magazine al-Naba (The News), and called a “Degenerate Animal” the suspected attacker, Uzbekistan national Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, 29, now in police custody.
According to Trump, the armed forces have hit the IS “much harder” over the past two days.
“They will pay a big price for every attack on us!” the president said.
Soon afterwards, upon leaving the White House for a flight to Hawaii, from where he will take off on an extended tour of Asia, Trump repeated to reporters that every time IS attacks the United States, his government will strike back “10 times harder.”
The attack in New York, in which the driver of a pickup truck ran down bicyclists on a crowded bike path leaving eight dead and 12 injured, has not been claimed by the IS through official statements or in reports by the jihadist-linked Amaq news agency, as is usual with the group.
A column in al-Naba briefly recounted the New York attack story, citing reports by “the media” but without referring to any source inside the terrorist group, as is usual when claiming responsibility for attacks carried out abroad.
US authorities believe Saipov acted alone, inspired by all the IS propaganda in his possession, though investigations continue to explore his past and the contacts he might have had.
The suspected terrorist was read the charges against him on Wednesday in the court handling the case, though the formal accusation will be announced later, possibly during a second judicial hearing to be held Nov. 15.
Trump has asked the death penalty for Saipov, and though at first the president said he was thinking of sending him to the prison at Guantanamo, Cuba, he later took the idea back because with all the complications, the process would take too long.