Argentina is mourning five victims of the attack that took place yesterday in New York City, where a total of eight people were killed and 11 injured after a national from Uzbekistan drove a truck into a cycleway in lower Manhattan, close to the site of the 9/11 memorial.
The Argentine victims were five friends from the city of Rosario, in the Province of Santa Fe, who had traveled to New York to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation. They were: Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi. A six member of the group – which was comprised of 10 people in total – called Martín Marro was injured in the attack, but his condition is stable.
According to the Washington Post, the attacker, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, was influenced by the Islamic State, but authorities haven’t identified any direct connections between him and the organization. Saipov left a note in the truck saying the Islamic State would endure forever and followed instructions on how to perpetrate an attack the terrorist organization had posted on its social media accounts. He exited the truck after crashing onto a school bus and was shot in the abdomen by police. He’s currently under custody.
President Mauricio Macri reacted to the attack today morning. In an event with a money laundering task force, he said that “all of us have to be committed from head to toe in the fight against terrorism.”
“Unfortunately there was a new terrorist attack in New York yesterday and five people from Rosario were among the victims. Five young entrepreneurs, leaders in Rosario’s society, I imagine they had nice families. It’s something that has hit us all Argentines extremely hard. I want to send my affection to the families,” the President said.
Authorities of the school the victims graduated from, the General San Martín Superior Polytechnic high school, held a ceremony in their honor this morning. Before the school-day began, teachers, authorities, employees and students gathered at the schoolyard and made a minute of silence in their honor.
“We are deeply shocked with what happened and still haven’t decided everything that we will do in the school during the week,” Alicia Oliva, Vice Principal of the institution, told press.
Infobae reported that some of the school’s 400 teachers went to school with the victims, while the daughter of one of them currently attends the high school.
Argentine Consul in New York, Mateo Estremé, informed the victims’ family members will arrive to the city between today and tomorrow. Estremé broke the news to the family members yesterday, to prevent them from finding out through the media. The four survivors from the group were with him in the consulate.
Estremé told press that consular authorities will try to speed up the bureaucratic process for the bodies to be taken back to Argentina, as they are part of a federal investigation consequence of having been victims of a terrorist attack. “We want them to be in Rosario as soon as possible so the families can do their grieving,” he said.
The Washington post reported that US President Donald Trump said he is “considering sending the Uzbek accused of the attack to Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba,” and that “he has begun dismantling the visa lottery program through which the terror suspect went to the United States.”
“I am today starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program,” Trump told reporters at the White House during a meeting with his Cabinet. “I am going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of the program,” he added.