Argentinian Jewish businessman among dead in New York attack

Eight people killed and 11 others injured when a truck driver hit people on a cycle path in Manhattan


Prominent Argentinian Jewish businessman Ariel Erlij and four former school friends were among the eight people killed in Tuesday’s truck attack in New York.

Erlij, the 48-year-old owner of steel company Ivanar in Rosario, central Argentina, died when the rental vehicle ploughed into pedestrians and cyclists on a cycle path in Manhattan’s West Side.

Authorities said they were treating it as an act of terrorism.

The driver, reported to be Uzbek national Sayfullo Saipov, was shot and wounded by police after leaping out of the vehicle with a pellet gun and a paintball gun. The suspect was taken to hospital and is in police custody.

Mr Erlij was celebrating a 30-year reunion in New York with a group of Argentinian former schoolmates from the General San Martín Polytechnic Institute in Rosario.

The four who also died in the truck attack as they were cycling along the path in Manhattan were named as Hernán Diego Mendoza, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Diego Enrique Angelini and Hernán Ferruchi. They were all in their late forties.

A Belgian woman was also among the dead.

Mr Erlij had personally arranged the reunion and had paid for the trips of at least two other members of the group. He lived with his family at the Kentucky Country Club in Funes, in province of Santa Fe in northeast Argentina.

He was also a director of the Metropolitano Industrial Park in Pérez.

Last year Mr Erlij had excitedly announced a major investment in a second industrial plant in Ramallo, a district of the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires.

In the wake of the attack, Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri tweeted: “Profoundly moved by the tragic deaths this afternoon in NY. We place ourselves at the disposition of the families of the Argentinian victims.”

Meanwhile the country's foreign minister, Jorge Faurie, said that his heart was with the family and friends of those who had died “at this moment of deep and inexplicable pain.”

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