US president Donald Trump has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to “step up” vetting measures after yesterday’s deadly truck attack in New York City.
Eight people were killed and at least 11 injured when the driver of the truck hit people on a cycle path in Lower Manhattan.
Five Argentinian friends on holiday in Manhattan were among those killed in what is being described as an “act of terror”.
Belgium’s deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister Didier Reynders said a Belgian was among those who lost their lives. A 29-year-old man was shot by police as he left the vehicle and detained.
Media named him as Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant who came to the US in 2010.
The suspect was taken to hospital. A note was found in the truck that referred to so-called Islamic State, law enforcement sources were quoted as saying by US media.
A rented white pick-up truck struck cyclists and pedestrians while being driven along the West St-Houston St path for many blocks at around 3pm local time.
The vehicle then hit a school bus, injuring two adults and two children on board, and came to a halt.
The driver emerged holding what appeared to be two handguns and made a statement “consistent with a terror attack”.
He was shot in the abdomen by a police officer stationed near the scene.
A paintball gun and a pellet gun were recovered from the scene.
Students in Halloween costumes streamed out of nearby schools after lockdowns were lifted and huddled with parents, the New York Times reported.
New York police announced additional security across the city including around the city’s Halloween parade which was taking place last night.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office urged British travellers to avoid the area of West Street in Manhattan due to the ongoing investigation.
US specialist Funway said it had 100 customers in the city at the time.
Marketing director for Funway Holidays Nick Talbot said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.”
“We are working alongside industry partners to support agents. Currently in New York Funway have just over 100 customers.
“Our after sales team are available to assist our agents should they have any questions but there is no impact on flight arrivals into New York so all bookings stand as normal. We have received no cancellations following the incident.”
Fred Dixon, president and CEO of tourism board NYC & Company said: “We are deeply saddened by the terrible attack and are thankful and reassured by the swift actions of the NYPD and first responders. Our deepest sympathies are with all the victims and their families. It is profoundly disheartening to learn of the five Argentinians and the Belgian who were among those who lost their lives, and other visitors who were injured or affected who were simply here to experience and enjoy this incredible city.
“We condemn this senseless act of violence here and those in other destinations around the globe. We are a strong, united and resilient community. New York City remains a safe and welcoming destination for leisure visitors and meetings delegates, and we encourage travellers to continue with their plans here and elsewhere.”