Eight people were killed in a New York car ramming terror attack, including an Argentinian Jewish businessman.

A truck piled into a crowd in downtown New York City in what the mayor called “an act of terror”, before the suspect was shot by police.

The perpetrator struck pedestrians on a bike path on Tuesday afternoon, blocks away from the World Trade Centre site, the New York Police Department said. At least eight were killed, and at least 11 injured.

Hours after the attack, the names of the first victims emerged, and they included a group of Argentinian friends celebrating the anniversary of their graduation. Amongst those named by Argentina’s foreign ministry was Jewish businessman Ariel Erlij.

The driver has been identified by law enforcement officials as Sayfullo Saipov, 29, from Uzbekistan, was shot by police after jumping out of the vehicle with what turned out to be two fake guns. He was taken to hospital and is in police custody. Officers said his injuries are not life-threatening.

Bicycles and debris lay on a bike path at the crime scene where investigators work after a motorist earlier in the day drove onto the path near the World Trade Center memorial, striking and killing several people (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Bicycles and debris lay on a bike path at the crime scene where investigators work after a motorist earlier in the day drove onto the path near the World Trade Center memorial, striking and killing several people
(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

“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.

Board of Deputies Vice President Richard Verber reacted by saying: “Our hearts go out to the people of New York following the heinous terrorist attack last night. We stand in solidarity with all New Yorkers and remain firm in our resolve to defeat the scourge of global terrorism.”

As ordered by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the spire of One World Trade Center is illuminated in red, white and blue following a deadly rampage down a bike path not far from the building (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

As ordered by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the spire of One World Trade Center is illuminated in red, white and blue following a deadly rampage down a bike path not far from the building
(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)