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Pedestrians and Cyclists: The New Norm For Terrorist Targets?

Eight people enjoying the Hudson River Greenway in lower Manhattan on Tuesday in the shadow of the World Trade Centered were intentionally mowed down and killed by a driver in a rented pickup truck, following an ISIS playbook that targets pedestrians
November 1, 2017, 2pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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“This was an act of terror,” declared Mayor de Blasio at a somber news conference at police headquarters, reports Rich Schapiro for the (New York) Daily News on Nov. 1.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism John Miller was even more specific.

“It appears that [suspect Sayfullo Saipov] had been planning this for a number of weeks. He did this in the name of ISIS,” Miller said Wednesday.

"He appears to have followed, almost to a 'T' instructions ISIS has put out.”

The instructions that Miller referenced were included in an ISIS magazine article, Rumiyah, published last year.

The story, which features a photo of a Hertz rental truck, advises would-be terrorists to use a load-bearing truck, to target areas that draw large crowds, to bring with them a secondary weapon, to announce allegiance to Allah and to leave behind a note pledging support for the Islamic State.

Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant, did all of the above, but failed to "remain in the vehicle for as long as possible 'to ensure utmost carnage upon the enemies,'" as the magazine advises, because he unintentionally slammed into a school bus. He reportedly told interrogators that he "accidentally" hit the bus.

 Saipov "jumped out of his truck and ran up and down the highway waving a pellet gun and paintball gun and shouting 'Allahu akbar,' Arabic for 'God is great,' before he was shot in the abdomen by [NYPD Officer Ryan Nash]," reports The New York Times.

Barney Henderson chronicles the use of trucks as weapons for The Telegraph, a "tactic [that] was used widely by Islamist militant groups in several attacks in Israel from 2008 onwards. The Rumiyah article described the Bastille Day massacre in Nice, France, in which a rented, heavy duty truck killed 84 pedestrians, as the prototype for would-be terrorists to follow.

Terrorism and safety experts have stated that there needs to be more widespread use of bollards to prevent vehicle attacks on pedestrians. A bollard in Times Square prevented additionally fatalities in a Times Square incident last May in which a motorist, high on PCP, drove on sidewalks for three blocks, hitting 43 pedestrians, killing one.

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Published on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 in New York Daily News
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