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Hell on Wheels: Vehicular Ramming Attacks As The Tactic Of Choice

By Steven Crimando, CHS-V

Nightmare on West Street
On Halloween, Tuesday October 31, a 29-year-old Uzbek national committed the first deadly terrorist attack in New York City since 9/11. Traveling at a high rate of speed in a rented Home Depot flatbed pickup truck, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov executed a well-developed attack plan and pulled off Manhattan’s West Side Highway (West Street) onto the scenic bike path that runs between the roadway and Hudson River waterfront. Plowing through the groups of pedestrians and cyclists for 17 blocks, Saipov left two dozen people covered in tire tracks and blood, ultimately killing 8 and seriously injuring 12 more. All of this unfolded in the late afternoon shadow of the Freedom Tower, with Ground Zero and the 9/11 memorial only blocks away.

The attack, which Saipov later disclosed to police from his hospital bed, had been several weeks in the making. It was cut short when he collided with an occupied school bus, injuring several on board. Exiting the vehicle while shouting “Allahu akbar,” he began waving two handguns, (later found to be a pellet gun and a paintball gun). Saipov was shot and wounded by the police, arrested and transported to a city hospital. Notes later found in the truck, along with statements made to the police, indicated that he planned to continue mowing down pedestrians along a much longer route that would have taken him onto the Brooklyn Bridge. New York City Police Department (NYPD) Deputy Police Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrrorism, John Miller said in a press briefing that the attack was carried out in the name of ISIS and that the Saipov “followed almost to a T, the instructions that ISIS has put out on its social media channels before with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack.” Days after the attack, ISIS pronounced Saipov a "soldier of the caliphate," its weekly newspaper.

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