The FBI is seeking information from the public about a second man, Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, in relation to the Manhattan terror attack in which Uzbek national Sayfullo Saipov stands accused. The second person being sought also goes by the name Muhammad Kadirov.
Kadirov has now publicly condemned the attack. He told the Associated Press in a statement Thursday: “This not from our religion, it is not acceptable.” He “revealed he was heartsick over the tragedy, while among other members of the Muslim community who completely ‘reject’ the actions of Saipov.”
The federal agency released a poster providing information about Kadirov and seeking the public’s help in learning more about him. It was then announced that the FBI had located Kadirov but still was seeking to learn more about him from anyone with relevant information. However, he has not been named as a suspect in the terror attack, which killed eight people and wounded more in the Tribeca area of lower Manhattan, not far from the World Trade Center site.
After coming to the U.S. from Uzbekistan, Saipov, 29, worked as a commercial truck and Uber driver, before he allegedly rammed a Home Depot rental truck into the crowd of mostly tourists on the New York bicycle path.
Here’s what you want to know:
1. Law Enforcement Officials Say They Are Seeking the Public’s Help to Learn More About Kadirov
The FBI poster on Kadirov doesn’t provide a great deal of information about the man, but it makes clear that authorities are seeking him in connection with the Manhattan terror attack. “Law enforcement officials are seeking the public’s assistance with information about Mukhammadzoir Kadirov in relation to the deadly attack in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City, New York on October 31, 2017,” the FBI poster said. The poster was released by the FBI on November 1, the day after what was the worst terrorist attack in New York City since September 11, 2001.
The poster urged people with information concerning the case to contact the FBI’s toll-free line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), or to contact their local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate. The New York field officer issued the poster, which was headlined “SEEKING INFORMATION” and then contained Kadirov’s name and the date of the Manhattan attack.
The New York Post said that Kadirov is being called a person of interest, and law enforcement officials want to question him.
2. Like Saipov, Kadirov Is From Uzbekistan & Lived in Tampa, Florida
The FBI poster provides only scant information on Kadirov, including providing no information about what brought him to the attention of law enforcement, but it does say that he is from Uzbekistan. Saipov also hails from the central Asian country. Saipov moved to the United States in 2010 as part of a “Diversity Visa Immigrant Program” that allows some people to gain entry via computer lottery. He settled for a time in Tampa, Florida, before more recently moving to New Jersey.
A review by Heavy of online records shows that Kadirov, 32, also lived in Tampa, Florida, although not at the same address as Saipov. The record trail for Kadirov is very scant. It doesn’t contain any familial relationships or obvious social media pages.
The Diversity Visa Immigrant Program link to Saipov prompted President Donald Trump to renew his call for “extreme vetting” of immigrants, and to go off on the “diversity visa lottery program,” which is administered by the U.S. State Department. Trump said on November 1 that the program was “not nice, it’s not good,” and that he was going to work with Congress to get rid of it, and he also criticized “chain migration,” saying Saipov was the point of contact for 23 people “brought in with him.”
“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based,” Trump tweeted, adding, “We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter).”
3. Sayfullo Saipov Was a Commercial Truck Driver Who Also Drove For Uber
Although Sayfullo Saipov came to the U.S. only seven years ago, he had already ended up on the government’s radar. ABC News social media editor, Evan McMurry, tweeted, “NYC suspect was interviewed in 2015 by federal agents after being listed as point of contact for two men on counterterrorism list.” It’s not known who those people were or whether they bear any connection to the latest FBI poster.
As to the program that Saipov used to enter the country, according to the U.S. State Department, “The Department of State administers the Congressionally-mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program annually. Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as ‘diversity immigrants’ from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.” The Department of State “distributes diversity visas among six geographic regions, and no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year,” its handout on the program says. The program was introduced by Chuck Schumer in 1990 and George H.W. Bush signed it into law.
Saipov was carrying identification from Tampa, Florida, but he was recently living in New Jersey and also drove for Uber this summer. In addition, he worked as a commercial truck driver. According to CBS News, the terror suspect is “Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, apparently from Uzbekistan,” a central Asian nation.
4. Kadirov Wore Traditional Muslim Dress & Authorities initially Called Saipov a ‘Lone Wolf’
According to UK Daily Mail, “Locals said 32-year-old Mukhammadzoir Kadirov lived in a two-bed rental at the Wexford Park apartment complex in Tampa, Florida until early summer. They said he, his wife and their two young children, believed to be around two to three years old, rarely ventured outside but were occasionally seen sitting on the banks of the lake behind their home. Kadirov drove a Honda van but it’s not clear whether he had a job.”
‘They were Muslims. He wore traditional clothes and he always dressed in white. I never saw him go out in the morning so I don’t know if he did anything,’ said neighbor Jeremy Clemente, 17, according to Daily Mail.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, of New York, said on November 1 that Saipov was “radicalized domestically,” meaning that he came into contact with ISIS propaganda in the U.S., not in Uzbekistan. However, authorities on October 31, in the wake of the attack, dubbed Saipov a “lone wolf” and indicated that they saw no evidence he had accomplices. How Kadirov fits into those comments is not yet clear.
Although in the country since 2010, Saipov had contact with law enforcement in many states for minor traffic violations, and he had ties to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Jersey, Florida, and Maryland. The horrific attack unfolded around 3 p.m. on Halloween Day when the suspect is accused of ramming a rented Home Depot truck into bicyclists and pedestrians who were on a busy bicycle path. He then jumped from the truck waving around a pellet and paint gun in each hand, after crashing into a school bus.
Five of those killed along the busy bicycle path were from Argentina. They were together on a trip to New York City to celebrate the anniversary of their graduation and were on a bicycle tour.
It might have been even worse were it not for the heroics of New York police officer, Ryan Nash, 28, who shot Saipov in the abdomen; witnesses say Saipov was shouting “Allahu Akbar.” Saipov survived and is recovering from his wounds.
5. Saipov Was Criminally Charged With Terrorism Counts
Authorities wasted no time, charging Sayfullo Saipov with terrorism charges the day after the attack. “The complaint says Saipov plowed a rented truck through pedestrians and bicyclists intentionally. The attack was planned weeks in advance and carried out in the name of ISIS,” reported Pix11.
Authorities also revealed that “investigators say they later recovered a cellphone that had Islamic State group propaganda,” the television station reported. It was previously revealed that authorities also recovered a note near the truck used in the attack that said the suspect was acting on behalf of the Islamic State. It’s not clear whether Saipov was directly in contact with ISIS, however.