Islamic State (IS or Isis) supporters are reportedly celebrating the deadly terror attack that claimed the lives of at least eight people and left 15 others injured on Tuesday (31 October). A rented truck driven by Sayfullo Saipov, who has been named as the suspect behind the attack, rammed into pedestrians and cyclists in Manhattan.
Although the attack has not officially been claimed by Isis, Telegram channels affiliated with the group are now reportedly flooded with celebratory posts from Isis supporters. Multiple media reports claim that a handwritten note was found inside the truck, in which the attacker claimed allegiance to Isis.
According to Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks terrorism, Isis recently ramped up calls for supporters to launch attacks in the US and other Western nations, following losses in Syria and Iraq. Katz took to Twitter, claiming that Isis is celebrating the New York attack, with one post stating, "You killed men and widowed women and orphaned children... what do you expect!"
"Trick or treat New York City," another post from an Isis supporter allegedly read. "God is Greater," another supporter wrote in Arabic.
The New York Times reported that on Monday (30 October), a French pro-Isis group called the Centre Mediatique An-Nur put out a specific threat for Halloween on a poster spread via Telegram and Isis-related Twitter accounts. The threat allegedly even mentioning the date, which according to some experts is unusual.
New York Times correspondent Rukmini Callimachi, who covers Isis, tweeted that the use of a rented truck and the note correspond to the kind of steps advocated to potential Isis attackers via the terror group's magazine Rumiyah. "The steps Rumiyah spells out include use a truck, crush people, then get out on foot and use a secondary weapon AND leave a note," Callimachi wrote. Isis supporters on Telegram are also reportedly sharing updates on Saipov, who they have referred to as their "brother".
Meanwhile, hours after the attack, thousands of New Yorkers gathered in Manhattan for the annual Halloween parade to show that they will not cower down to terror.