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Five friends among New York dead as Trump cracks down

By PA Reporters

Five friends from Argentina who were celebrating the 30th anniversary of their graduation were among those killed when a rental truck was driven into pedestrians and cyclists on a bicycle path in New York.

The men were reportedly part of a group of 10 friends exploring Manhattan on bicycles when the truck struck in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday.

In response to the atrocity - the deadliest terror attack to strike New York since the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, US President Donald Trump ordered the security services to "step up" vetting procedures.

Eight people were killed and at least 11 others injured after a man drove the rented Home Depot truck on to the path on West Street at around 3pm.

The driver, who has been identified by law enforcement officials as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov from Uzbekistan was shot by police after jumping out of the vehicle with what turned out to be two fake guns.

He was taken to hospital and is in police custody.

Officers said his injuries are not life-threatening.

President Trump has said he will consider sending Saipov to Guantanamo Bay jail in Cuba.

Responding to a shouted question from a reporter at a Cabinet meeting, Mr Trump said: "I would certainly consider that. Send him to Gitmo."

Mr Trump's comments come after senator Lindsey Graham called on the president to treat the alleged attacker as an enemy combatant.

Hours after the attack, the names of the first victims emerged as Argentina's foreign ministry said Hernan Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damian Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernan Ferruchi had died.

The group were marking three decades since their graduation from Polytechnic College in Rosario city in central Argentina.

A sixth Argentinian man with the group, Martin Ludovico Marro, was taken to the Presbyterian hospital in Manhattan.

A Belgian national was also among the dead, the country's deputy prime minister said.

On Tuesday night, police investigating the rampage were seen surrounding a white Toyota minivan with Florida number plates in the car park of Home Depot in Passaic, New Jersey.

Saipov had allegedly rented the pick-up truck an hour before the rampage from the state before unleashing terror on the streets of New York.

He reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar".

New York mayor Bill de Blasio called the attack "a particularly cowardly act of terror" that was "aimed at innocent civilians going about their daily lives".

The 29-year-old suspect was working as an Uber driver after passing a background check, according to a spokeswoman for the taxi driver app.

In a statement, the firm added: "We are horrified by this senseless act of violence. Our hearts are with the victims and their families. We have reached out to law enforcement to provide our full assistance."

President Trump praised the actions of first responders.

He said on Twitter that he had ordered the Department of Homeland Security to step up its already "extreme vetting" programme.

The president added: "Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!"

A number of other officials in both the US and Europe offered condolences on social media.

Argentina's president Mauricio Macri tweeted: "Profoundly moved by the tragic deaths this afternoon in NY. We are at the disposal of the families of the Argentinian victims."

The country's Foreign minister Jorge Faurie said that his heart was with the family and friends of those who had died "at this moment of deep and inexplicable pain".

The governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo said it was a "lone wolf" attack, and that there was no evidence that it was part of a wider plot.

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