The Islamic State claimed suspected New York City attacker Sayfullo Saipov as a "soldier of the Caliphate" on Thursday night, two days after the Uzbek citizen killed eight by driving a truck down a popular Manhattan bike lane.
The claim was "uncharacteristically late" for the group, which usually releases a statement within the first 24 hours, and it was not carried by the militants' official Amaq News Agency, The New York Times reports. Additionally: "It marks a break with the usual pattern of not claiming responsibility for an attack when a suspect is in custody."
Saipov, who was taken into custody after the attack, admitted he was inspired by ISIS propaganda and reportedly asked to have the militants' flag hung in his hospital room. On Friday, Trump responded to ISIS by tweeting: "ISIS just claimed the Degenerate Animal who killed, and so badly wounded, the wonderful people on the West Side, was 'their soldier.' Based on that, the Military has hit ISIS 'much harder' over the last two days. They will pay a big price for every attack on us!"
ISIS also claimed responsibility for the Las Vegas shooting last month, although the group cited no evidence and investigating authorities have found no links between shooter Stephen Paddock and the radicals. "ISIS, desperate for attention, will claim just about anything these days, knowing their supporters won't believe government/media," tweeted CNN's Paul Cruickshank at the time. Jeva Lange