Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri paid tribute on Monday to five of his countrymen killed in an attack in New York City. The five Argentines were among eight people killed when a man drove a rented pickup truck down a mile-long stretch of bike path in Manhattan, mowing down people enjoying a sunny fall afternoon.
“Argentines worship friendship... and they were here to celebrate the 30th anniversary of graduating from the same school, of shared lives and dreams,” Macri said at the site of the attack.
“Unfortunately, five families were destroyed” in this “cowardly attack,” he said, laying a wreath of white flowers at the site alongside his wife. “But this tragedy must unite us even more, and reaffirm our commitment to peace,” said Macri, at the start of a three-day visit to New York.
“We live 5,000 miles apart, but we feel a tremendous sense of unity, a deep connection right now, and we share the same heartache, the same grief,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who accompanied the Argentine president.
The remains of the five Argentines killed in the attack arrived in Argentina earlier, en route to their hometown of Rosario for burial. An Argentine national is also among the 12 people hurt, while four other Argentines — all from the same group — survived the attack unscathed.
Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan, is under arrest on terror charges for allegedly carrying out the October 31 attack.
The charging document said he confessed to acting in the name of Daesh and “felt good about what he had done,” even demanding to hang the extremist organization’s flag in his hospital room.
And Daesh has claimed him as one of its own, saying in its weekly newspaper that “one of the soldiers of the [Daesh] attacked a number of crusaders on a street in New York City,” according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors the communications of violent extremists.