(JTA) — Five of the people killed in a truck ramming attack in New York Tuesday afternoon were Argentine tourists visiting Manhattan to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation, including one Jewish businessman.

At least eight people were killed and about a dozen injured when a truck rammed into a crowd on a bike path in downtown New York City in what the mayor called “an act of terror.”

According to Argentina´s Foreign Ministry the victims are Diego Enrique Angelini, Ariel Erlij, Hernán Diego Mendoza, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco y Hernán Ferruchi.

Another Argentinean Martín Ludovico Marro, was injured and was taken to the Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. Four others from the group were not hurt.

Erlij, 48, is a Jewish steel mill owner from the central Argentinian city of Rosario. He reportedly paid for two of his high school friends to go on the trip so they could all be together for the anniversary. They graduated in 1987 from the Polytechnic School in Rosario.

Ariel Cohen Sabban, president of the Argentinean Jewish umbrella organization, DAIA, confirmed to JTA that Erlij is Jewish. Misaskim, an American Orthodox Jewish not-for-profit organization that provides services for the care of the dead is working with the NYC Medical Examiners Office to ensure that Erlij’s body is handled according to Jewish custom, the Yeshiva World News reported.

“Argentina reaffirms its strongest condemnation of terrorist acts and violence in all its manifestations and reiterates the need to deepen the fight against this scourge,” the Argentine foreign ministry said in a statement.

President Mauricio Macri tweeted twice about the terrorist attack.

He said in his first tweet that he is “deeply moved by the tragic deaths this afternoon in N.Y.” and offered to assist the relatives of the Argentine victims.

The second tweet said: “Again we make a call for peace, for an end to these horrors.”

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said in a tweet Tuesday night that a Belgian national also was killed in the attack.

In a message to President Donald Trump, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, sent Wednesday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote: “We stand with our friends in New York and all Americans following yet another horrible Islamist terror attack. We pray for the victims and their families. Together we will defeat this scourge.”

The suspect, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, 29, an Uber and commercial truck driver from New Jersey, was identified as a Uzbek national who is a permanent United States resident. He arrived in the United States in 2010 and has a green card, according to reports. He was shot and then detained by police after he exited the truck he was driving and ran through the street waving pellet guns; he was taken to a New York hospital where he recovering from a gunshot to his middle.

Saipov reportedly left a note in the truck saying he committed the attack for ISIS.

“Based on the information we have at this moment, this was an act of terror,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference.

Witnesses said the suspect had yelled “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is great” in Arabic, law enforcement sources told CNN. Terrorists have often used the phrase before committing attacks.

Comment