New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says bombing act of terror

September 20, 2016 3:30 am

City Mayor speaks to the press on Monday, September 19, 2016.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that Saturday’s bomb explosion in the city’s Chelsea district, which injured 29 people, was an act of terror.
“We have every reason to believe this was an act of terror,” de Blasio said at a conference on Monday.
In a similar incident on Sunday night, a device exploded near a train station in New Jersey as an FBI bomb squad was attempting to disarm it with a robot.
In addition, another bomb placed in a garbage can in Seaside Park, New Jersey exploded on Saturday morning.
Police found and arrested the man suspected in the three bombings. Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was found outside a bar in Linden, New Jersey on Monday.
Rahami was shot by police and taken to a hospital in Newark, New Jersey, where he was undergoing surgery. His condition is still unknown.
He is a naturalized citizen who was born in Afghanistan, according to the FBI. Officials believe he has been cooperating with a terrorist group that orchestrated the two bombings.
The officials said that the man’s family was known in Elizabeth, New Jersey, for frequent skirmishes with neighbors over its fried chicken restaurant.
“The suspect was not on the radar of local law enforcement, but the fried chicken place that … the family owned, we had some code enforcement problems and noise complaints,” Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage told reporters Monday.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was taken into custody on Monday after a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey. He is seen above being taken from the scene on a stretcher. (Boston Herald)

Mohammad Rahami, the suspect’s father, said he had been unaware of his son planning any bombings.
“I’m not sure what’s happening, exactly,” he said. “It’s very hard right now to talk.”
Police Commissioner James O’Neill warned New Yorkers Monday to remain vigilant, but said that “there is no other individual we are looking for at this point in time.”
Also, President Barack Obama, in a televised statement Monday, called on US citizens to remain vigilant and offered the federal government’s full assistance in the ongoing, multiagency investigation.

1 Rahami is a 28-year-old naturalised US citizen from Afghanistan
2 He is about 5′ 6″ (1.70m) tall and weighs approximately 90kg. Rahami has brown hair, brown eyes, and brown facial hair.
3 He was arrested today following a shootout with police. Two officers and the suspect were wounded.
4 Rahami had visited Afghanistan – possibly several times. Associates of the suspect told the New York Times that he may have been radicalised during these trips.
5 His last known address was in Elizabeth, New Jersey. His family run a fried chicken shop. FBI agents raided an apartment above it.
6 Rahami was found by a bar owner in Linden, New Jersey, sleeping in his hall way.

 Rahami pulled a gun and shot the officer – who was wearing a bulletproof vest – in the torso, and more officers joined in a gun battle along the street and brought Rahami down, police Captain James Sarnicki said.A police officer went to investigate and recognised the man as Rahami, police and Linden Mayor Derek Armstead said.
8 William Sweeney, the FBI’s assistant director in New York, said there were no indications Rahami was on law enforcement’s radar at the time of the bombings.
9 Sweeney wouldn’t detail how investigators zeroed in on Rahami as someone they wanted to question, but a law enforcement official says Rahami was seen in surveillance footage “clear as day” at the scene of the bombing in Manhattan. The official says investigators were also able to recover his fingerprints from the scene. Another law enforcement official says investigators pulled over a car “associated” with Rahami when it appeared headed toward an airport on Monday. It had three men and two women in it.
10 CNN said Rahami was implicated in a domestic incident years ago – allegedly threatening his sister with a knife – but the claim was recanted.
How did the authorities allegedly link the suspect to the bombings?
A law enforcement official says fingerprints and surveillance video helped investigators. The official says Ahmad Khan Rahami is seen in surveillance footage at the scene of the bombing in Manhattan. The official says investigators were also able to recover his fingerprints from the scene. Another law enforcement official says investigators pulled over a car “associated” with Rahami when it appeared headed towards an airport. It had three men and two women in it. Rahami’s arrest came just hours after police issued a bulletin and photo of him.
Who is Rahami?
A 28-year-old naturalised US citizen from Afghanistan. The family business is a fast-food restaurant in Elizabeth, New Jersey, owned by the suspect’s father.
Was the suspect on the radar for militancy?

How many devices were there?
A third law enforcement official says Rahami wasn’t on any terror or no-fly watch lists but had been interviewed for immigration purposes. Investigators say they’ve found no evidence so far that the suspect was part of a broader terrorist cell. The assistant director of the FBI’s field office in New York, William Sweeney, said in a news briefing that “there is no indication that there’s a cell” in the area. New York City’s mayor and police commissioner also say no other suspects are being sought at this time.
On Sunday NZT, a shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bomb exploded in New York’s Chelsea section, injuring 29 people. An unexploded pressure-cooker bomb was found blocks away. Earlier that day, a pipe bomb blew up in Seaside Park, New Jersey, before a charity race to benefit Marines. No one was injured. Then yesterday, five explosive devices were discovered in a rubbish bin at an Elizabeth train station. Investigators said they are still gathering evidence on those bombs and have not publicly tied Rahami to those devices.
Was there evidence the New York and New Jersey attacks were linked?
A federal law enforcement official says three bombs found in New York and New Jersey had one component in common: a flip-style cellphone. The official says a pipe bomb that exploded in Seaside Park, New Jersey, was constructed with a threaded pipe and black powder. The official says two devices found in New York City included pressure cookers, similar to the devices used in the 2013 attack the Boston Marathon that killed three and wounded hundreds of people. The device that exploded contained residue from the commercially available explosive compound Tannerite.

Where is the suspect?
Rahami is undergoing surgery after a shootout with police. Union County Prosecutor Grace Park said he was shot in the leg. She says that two officers injured in the shootout have non-critical injuries. The suspect was found sleeping in a bar hallway in Linden, New Jersey, before his arrest. Mayor Derek Armstead says the man was initially presumed to be a vagrant, but police officers who responded quickly realised it was Rahami. Armstead says the man pulled out a handgun and fired at the officers, hitting one in a bulletproof vest. The man then began firing as he ran down the street and police shot him in the leg. The man was conscious when he was taken away in an ambulance.
What happens now?
A law enforcement official says investigators regard Rahami as the “main guy” but plan to look into whether any other associates had a role or knowledge. The official says investigators are not seeing a connection between the explosions and a separate stabbing attack at a shopping centre in Minnesota. US Attorney Preet Bharara, chief federal prosecutor in New York, said New Jersey officials will probably bring charges against Rahami in the police officers’ shooting while federal authorities weigh charges of their own. The five people pulled over yesterday were questioned and released, Sweeney said, declining to say whether they might face any charges. Law enforcement officials said at least one of Rahami’s relatives was in the car, which appeared headed towards Kennedy Airport in New York.

What do we know about Rahami’s family?
Rahami’s father, Mohammad, and two of Rahami’s brothers sued the city of Linden in 2011 after it passed an ordinance requiring their restaurant, First American Fried Chicken, to close early because of complaints from neighbours that it was a late-night nuisance. The Rahamis charged in the lawsuit that they were targeted by neighbours because they are Muslims. The lawsuit was terminated in 2012 after Mohammad Rahami pleaded guilty to blocking police from enforcing the restrictions on the restaurant. Ryan McCann, of Elizabeth, said that he often ate at the restaurant and recently began seeing the younger Rahami working there more. “He’s always in there. He’s a very friendly guy, that’s what’s so scary. It’s hard when it’s home,” McCann said.
How has the US President reacted?
President Barack Obama likewise said that investigators see no connection between the bombings and the stabbings. Obama says the US is “extremely fortunate” nobody was killed in the bombings. He says he’s spoken to the governors of New Jersey and New York and pledged all needed federal assistance. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Muslim advocacy group, welcomed Rahami’s arrest. The organisation and the Afghan Embassy in Washington condemned the bombings.
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