The U.S. has stepped up attacks on Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, in response to this week’s deadly truck attack in New York by a suspect claiming allegiance to the terrorist group, President Donald Trump said Friday.
The Pentagon said that the U.S. and coalition militaries on Thursday carried out nine strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and four inside Iraq, as part of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.
Sayfullo Saipov, accused of killing eight people by driving a pick-up truck Tuesday along a Manhattan bicycle path, was a “soldier of the caliphate,” an Islamic State media organ claimed, according to reports late Thursday.
Before leaving the White House on a trip to Asia, Trump said that the U.S. would be hitting Islamic State forces “10 times harder,” after tweeting early Friday about the claim of responsibility.
“ISIS just claimed the Degenerate Animal who killed, and so badly wounded, the wonderful people on the West Side, was ‘their soldier,’” Trump wrote.
“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!”
Saipov reportedly asked to display the Islamic State flag in his hospital room following the attack, in which he was wounded by police gunfire.