Latest: Man charged over New York vehicle attack as FBI hunts accomplice

Update 9.30pm: An Uzbek immigrant accused of a deadly truck attack on a New York cycle path has been charged with providing material support to a terrorist group and violence and destruction of motor vehicles.

Suspect Sayfullo Saipov was charged on Wednesday in a criminal complaint following the Tuesday afternoon attack that killed eight people near the World Trade Centre.

The FBI says another person is wanted for questioning over the truck attack that left at least 12 people injured.

Sayfullo Saipov is suspected of mowing down pedestrians and cyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Centre memorial St Charles County Department of Corrections/KMOV via AP

The authorities said Saipov watched Islamic State videos on his mobile phone and picked Halloween for the attack because he knew more people would be out on the streets.

Afterwards, as he lay injured in hospital, he asked to display the IS flag in his room and "stated that he felt good about what he had done," prosecutors said in court papers.

Update 7.45pm: President Donald Trump's administration considers the truck driver who mowed down and killed eight people on a New York cycle path to be an "enemy combatant", the White House has said.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mr Trump is open to sending the attacker to the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

She said the actions of the attacker justify the enemy combatant label, and while Mr Trump is not calling on him to be moved to Guantanamo Bay he "certainly would support it if he felt like that was the best move".

Tuesday's truck attack happened near the World Trade Centre and left at least 12 people injured.

Officials say the attacker was shot and wounded by police and has yet to be charged, and Ms Sanders said it has not been decided whether to move him out of the civilian justice system.

Earlier: Trump vows immigration based on 'merit' after New York attack

President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged tougher immigration measures based on "merit" after the deadly vehicle attack in New York City.

Mr Trump, who referred to the suspect as an "animal", noted during a Cabinet meeting that the driver in Tuesday's attack entered the country through the diversity visa lottery programme and called on Congress to "immediately" begin working to eliminate the programme, which applies to countries with low rates of immigration to the US.

Mr Trump added: "We have to get much tougher, much smarter, and less politically correct."

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Trump called the visa programme "a Chuck Schumer beauty", a reference to the Senate's Democratic leader.

Mr Schumer fired back from the Senate floor, accusing Mr Trump of "politicising" the tragedy.

Officials said the attacker is an immigrant from Uzbekistan who came to the United States legally in 2010.

Mr Trump has backed legislation that would curb legal immigration and shift the nation toward a system that would place an emphasis on merit and skills over family ties.

The comments followed Mr Trump's Tuesday night statement that he had ordered the Department of Homeland Security "to step up our already extreme vetting program".

Mr Trump's policy entails more stringent investigative measures intended to identify would-be immigrants who may sympathise with extremists or pose a national security risk to the United States.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr Trump proposed a total ban on Muslim immigration to the US before embracing "extreme vetting".

Mr Trump's efforts to block immigrants from several Muslim-majority countries have been tied up in federal courts.

The diversity visa programme provides up to 50,000 visas annually by lottery.

Applicants must have a high school diploma or meet work experience requirements.

It was created as part of a bipartisan immigration bill introduced by the late senator Ted Kennedy and signed into law by Republican president George H.W. Bush in 1990.

Mr Schumer, a New York Democrat who was a member of the House of Representatives at the time, proposed a programme for "diversity immigrants" in a bill he offered earlier that year.

Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Mr Schumer said he has "always believed that immigration is good for America".

He also criticised Mr Trump for "politicising" the deadly attack, comparing his response to President George. W. Bush's after 9/11.

"President Trump, where is your leadership?" Mr Schumer asked.

"The contrast between President Bush's actions after 9/11 and President Trump's actions this morning could not be starker."

He said Mr Trump actually had proposed cutting anti-terrorism funding in his most recent budget.

"I'm calling on President Trump to rescind his proposed cuts to this vital anti-terrorism funding immediately," Mr Schumer said.

AP


 

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