A 27-year-old New York resident of Bangladeshi descent attempted a suicide bombing in one of Manhattan’s busiest subway corridors on Monday morning. The explosive, reported as a “low tech device” and believed to be a pipe bomb strapped to the man’s chest, is said to have detonated prematurely, injuring the attacker as well as four others, one of whom was a police officer.
The suspect has been identified as Akayed Ullah, a Brooklyn resident and former taxi driver. His license to operate taxies in the city of New York lapsed in 2015, and although the suspect reportedly built the improvised explosive vest “at work,” his place of employment has not yet been released.
Ullah was born in the city of Chittagong in Bangladesh, and last visited the nation as recently as September 8th of this year.
At just after 7:00a.m., Ullah entered the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan and filed into the commuter-dense crowd, not far from Times Square. At 7:20, he detonated the pipe bomb attached to his body with a “combination of Velcro and zip ties,” suffering burns to his hands and abdomen. He was listed in critical condition, while the four people he harmed in the explosion suffered only minor injuries.
“Our lives revolve around the subway,” the mayor said. “The choice of New York is always for a reason, because we are a beacon to the world. And we actually show that a society of many faiths and many backgrounds can work.”
“The terrorists want to undermine that,” the mayor added. “They yearn to attack New York City.”
Although no official word has been released regarding legitimate ties to terror groups like ISIS, statements from law enforcement officials, as well as the Mayor’s statement, indicate that the incident is clearly being treated as a terror attack. That distinction means the investigation will fall under New York’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, a cross-agency law enforcement team comprised primarily of FBI agents and New York City detectives, along with representatives from multiple other federal and local law enforcement agencies.
“In the course of the post-9/11 world, as you are aware, there’s also been approximately 26 plots that we can talk about that have been prevented through intelligence, investigation and intervention.” John Miller, deputy police commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism said in a Monday morning press conference.
In low quality footage of the security feed leaked online, you can see the suspect walking amid the crowd of commuters, before detonating the device, producing a cloud of smoke. As the smoke dissipates, a singe body lays on the ground, likely the suspect himself.
Image courtesy of the Associated Press