WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Donald Trump says the U.S. military has stepped up its attacks against ISIS following Tuesday’s deadly terror attack in Lower Manhattan.
The alleged attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, told FBI interrogators that he was inspired by the terrorist group. A propaganda arm of the Islamic State group also called Saipov “a soldier of the caliphate” on Thursday.
“They claimed him as a soldier, good luck,” the president told reporters Friday before leaving on his first official visit to Asia. “When we have an animal do an attack like he did the other day on the west side of Manhattan, we are hitting them 10 times harder.”
The president also took to Twitter earlier Friday morning, calling the suspect a “degenerate animal.”
“They will pay a big price for every attack on us!” he said in another tweet.
Officials later said the U.S. had conducted two airstrikes against IS-affiliated fighters in Somalia.
Authorities say Saipov drove a rented pickup truck down a bike path in Lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon, plowing into bicyclists and pedestrians for an entire mile before crashing into a school bus.
Eight people were killed and 12 others were injured. Saipov was shot by an NYPD officer after he jumped out of the truck with two air guns.
Saipov later told investigators that “he felt good about what he had done,” prosecutors said in court papers. Questioned in his hospital bed, Saipov said he had been inspired by ISIS videos and began plotting an attack about a year ago, authorities said.
He appeared before a federal judge Wednesday night to face charges that include providing material support to a terrorist group.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)