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First responders aid a woman following the truck attack in Manhattan in New York City, October 31, 2017. © 2017 REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(New York) – The truck attack on October 31, 2017, on a popular bicycle path in New York City was a horrific act of violence.

Official sources reported that eight people were killed and 11 were injured in the attack near the Hudson River in lower Manhattan.

Human Rights Watch extends its deepest sympathies to all those affected. Those responsible for the attack should be appropriately prosecuted in state or federal court to the full extent of the law.

While a motive has yet to be established, several factors suggest that the attacker’s intent was political. The perpetrator drove a truck into a crowd – a method used in several recent attacks linked to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). According to media reports, investigators found handwritten notes in Arabic near the truck indicating allegiance to ISIS. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to local authorities and media reports, the attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, 29, was taken into custody and was reportedly in critical condition at a local hospital. The FBI’s terrorism unit is leading the investigation.

Such deadly attacks often aim to spread hate, fear, and division. Societies should respond by reaffirming the values of human rights, the rule of law, and tolerance.

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