A Bangladeshi man — inspired by ISIS — set off a pipe bomb adjacent to New York’s Port Authority bus terminal during rush hour Monday morning December 10th, sowing mass chaos but causing few injuries — likely because the “attempted terrorist” detonated his “low-tech device” prematurely.
The suspect, Akayed Ullah, a Bangladesh immigrant, set off the device in an underground corridor that connects the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the subway system at rush hour, injuring himself and three others. The suspect traveled from Brooklyn to Manhattan on the subway system and was just in a corridor just outside the bus terminal when the bomb detonated.
The attack sent frightened commuters fleeing through a smoky passageway, and three people suffered headaches and ringing ears from the first bomb blast in the transportation system in more than two decades.
Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) officers took quick and decisive action to apprehend a suspect linked to the explosion to ensure public safety and restore calm after the incident.
After touring the bus terminal and speaking with police and facility employees, Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole and Executive Director Rick Cotton praised the actions of four officers who responded to the incident in an underground subway pedestrian passageway near the PABT during the height of this morning’s rush hour. They subdued the suspect and placed him under arrest, with the case now under the jurisdiction of federal authorities.
Ullah’s low-tech bomb used explosive powder, a nine-volt battery, a Christmas light and matches, the officials said. Investigators said the suspect was seen on surveillance footage igniting the bomb. In the end, it wasn’t powerful enough to turn the pipe into deadly shrapnel, the officials said.
Just before he tried blowing himself up, Akayed Ullah took to Facebook and hinted at his sinister plan while taunting President Trump. ‘Trump, you failed to protect your nation,’ Ullah posted just before the attack, prosecutors revealed in court on Tuesday as he was hit with federal terrorism charges.
Ullah also reportedly showed his distaste for his adopted country by writing on his Bangladesh passport ‘O, America, die in your rage,’ the complaint says.
The criminal complaint also states that Ullah said he carried out the attack in the name of the Islamic State. ‘I did it for the Islamic State,’ he told investigators. ‘Ullah carried out the December 11 attack in part because of the United States government’s policies in, among other places, the Middle East.
‘One of Ullah’s goals in carrying out the December 11 attack was to terrorize as many people as possible. He chose to carry out the attack on a workday because he believed that there would be more people,’ the complaint reads.
Prosecutors say Ullah began the radicalization process back in 2014, when he started watching and reading ISIS propaganda.
He started buying ingredients for his bomb about two to three weeks ago, and assembled it in his Brooklyn apartment last week.
The Bangladeshi immigrant faces charges of bombing a public place, using a weapon of mass destruction and material support for a foreign terrorist organization. He was also hit with state charges including criminal possession of a weapon, supporting an act of terrorism, and making a terroristic threat. It was unclear if the Bangladeshi immigrant, who was hospitalized with burns to his hands and stomach, was well enough to make a court appearance.
In the meantime, the US Government is taking steps to make it more difficult for immigrants to come to the US via a “Lottery” or “Chain Migration”.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said: “The Department of Justice is relentless in taking on the terrorist threat. The FBI has open terrorism investigations in every state. To make law enforcement’s job easier, however, Congress must finally fix our broken immigration system so that we admit to this country those who are likely to succeed, not violent criminals, gang members, terrorists, or their sympathizers. The fact that someone wins a lottery or is someone’s relative tells us nothing about their ability to assimilate.
Sources for this article include the Department of Justice, Southern District of NY Press Release, Police Department of NY Press Releases, Port Authority of NYNJ Press Release, Guardian blog and Crains NY blog, Military News, Port Authority Police Benevolent Society.