Sayfullo Saipov spent one year planning New York truck attack

Sayfullo Saipov, seen in this 2016 photo

The main suspect in the New York truck rampage that killed eight people on Tuesday has told investigators he began planning the attack a year ago.

Sayfullo Saipov, 29, said he intended to kill as many people as possible and “felt good” about the Halloween attack.

The Uzbek immigrant, who faces federal terrorism charges, says he was inspired by so-called Islamic State.

He was shot and injured by police at the scene.

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US President Donald Trump tweeted that he should receive the death penalty.

The charges filed against Mr Saipov are federal, which means the government can override New York state’s ban on capital punishment.

What did the suspect say?

Mr Saipov appeared in court in a wheelchair 24 hours after mowing down cyclists and pedestrians on a bike lane in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday.

Six people died at the scene and two more in hospital. Twelve people were injured, four of whom remain in critical condition.

Prosecutors say Mr Saipov spoke freely to them, waiving his right to avoid self-incrimination while in custody.

According to federal court papers, he said:

  • A year in the planning, he carried out a trial run with a rental truck last month
  • He intentionally chose Halloween because he believed there would be more people in the streets
  • He originally planned to target the Brooklyn Bridge as well
  • He wanted to display Islamic State (IS) flags on the truck, but decided not to draw attention to himself
  • He was inspired by 90 graphic and violent propaganda videos found on his phone – in particular, one in which IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi asks what Muslims are doing to avenge deaths in Iraq.

Mr Saipov was charged with one count of providing material support and resources to IS and another count of violence and destruction of motor vehicles.

New York Police’s Deputy Commissioner John Miller said the suspect appeared “to have followed almost exactly to a ‘T'” IS instructions on how to carry out such an attack.

The FBI says they have located a second Uzbek man, 32-year-old Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, who was wanted for questioning in connection with the attack.

Who is the suspect?

Sayfullo Saipov had reportedly lived in Tampa, Florida, before moving to Paterson, New Jersey.

He arrived in America from Uzbekistan in 2010 and is a legal resident of the country. Uber confirmed he had been working as a driver for them.

CBS News quotes an intelligence source as saying he was known to US authorities after his name was associated with the subjects of FBI counter-terrorism investigations in 2015.

The source says he had some contact with individuals who were considered radicalised extremists, at least one of whom was Uzbek.

It is unclear whether those being investigated were in the US or overseas.

It is not known if Mr Saipov, who was not the main focus of the investigation, was interviewed at that time by the FBI.

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