Times Square Terrorist Planned Attack For Years, Told Police "Motive Was Revenge"

Update (8 pm ET): The New York Daily News has published more details about the pipe bombs assembled by suspected NYC terrorist Akayed Ullah. Apparently, the bombs were comprised of "broken Christmas tree lights and nine-volt batteries". Describing them as "rudimentary" would probably be too generous a term.

A broken Christmas tree light bulb and a 9-volt battery were among the ingredients of a rudimentary do-it-yourself explosive device detonated by a bungling bomber Monday in a packed subway passage, sources said.

 

Terror suspect Akayed Ullah constructed the pipe bomb by stuffing powder into a narrow length of pipe and securing both open ends, according to the sources.

 

Ullah used a broken Christmas tree light bulb as an initiator to ignite powder inside a 12-inch pipe when the bulb was turned on with the power of the small square battery.

 

The device is potentially deadly, especially in the packed subway — when it works.

Meanwhile, in a development that almost beggar's belief, the suspected bomber's family has issued a statement in which they criticize the NYPD for its purportely heavy handed response to the bombing...

 

 

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Update (2 pm ET): In a harrowing account of today's Times Square terrorist attack, the New York Post interviewed several witnesses who shared their accounts of the immediate aftermath of the attack, which triggered a small stampede out of the narrow subway tunnel where Akayed Ullah detonated his homemade pipe bombs.

“I heard a kaboom. It was shaky,” said Jamar Moore, 39, who was near a turnstile when he felt the explosion.

 

“There was a little rumble. Everyone just hit the stairs and started running. People were losing their pocketbooks. Once we heard that pop, everybody was out."

 

In the mad scramble to flee after the would-be suicide bomber’s explosive device erupted underground, people at the station were falling over each other, trampling on others and losing their shoes, Moore recalled.

 

“People started getting trampled. I see about three to four people falling,” he said.

 

Sarah Benelli, 35, was on an A train that had pulled into 42nd Street/Port Authority when the bomb detonated, shaking the whole train and causing frightened commuters to jump on board to try to get away.

 

“I had headphones on, but I felt this rattle in my chest. I pulled the headphones out, and it sounded just like thunder. It reverberated for a couple seconds, and it was really loud,” said the Inwood resident.

 

“As I heard the rumbling, I heard people on the platform running on the train. There were a couple expletives; people were obviously scared. A few people ducked down in the train, and people were shouting to get away from the doors so the doors could close. They wanted to get out of there.”

As we noted earlier, Ullah told police that his attack was an act of vengeance against the US for violence in Gaza.

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in her first official comment on today's attack that Trump's proposed ban on "Chain Migration" might've prevented today's attack.

 

In a story reminiscent of the hero cop who helped subdue the attacker during the Halloween attack in lower Manhattan, police officials are lauding one hero officer who arrested Ullah.

 

 

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Update (12:30 pm ET): Akayed Ullah, the 27-year-old would-be suicide bomber who detonated an explosive device underground near the Port Authority Bus Terminal this morning - an attack that was timed to coincide with morning rush hour foot traffic - told investigators that he carried out the attack to mete out revenge on America, which he blamed for bombings in his home country, according to the New York Post.

The Post added that Ullah was an NYC cab driver until recently, when his licensed lapsed and he neglected to renew it. Ullah told authorities in sum and substance from his hospital bed: “They’ve been bombing in my country and I wanted to do damage here,” sources said. Ullah attached two pipe bombs to his person using velcro and zip ties.

The bombing occurred around 7:20 am inside the subway passageway between West 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue and West 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue. Ullah suffered burns to his hands and abdomen, along with lacerations. He injured three others who were in proximity to him, and ?was ?quickly taken into custody and ?transported ?to Bellevue Hospital.

According to authorities, Ullah has reportedly been planning the attack for years.

 

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Live feed:

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Summary:

A 27-year-old Bangladeshi national was taken into custody with serious injuries after a suspected pipe bomb he was carrying malfunctioned and exploded prematurely inside a Midtown Manhattan subway station Monday morning. The explosion happened around 7:20am, in an underground tunnel linking the Port Authority Bus Terminal to Times Square.

The suspect, Akayed Ullah, wore the device that went off shortly after 7 a.m., Police Commissioner James O’Neill said at a news conference near the scene. Ullah suffered serious burns, while other victims had minor injuries, he said. In the sprawling Times Square station, the city’s busiest, a “low, muffled sound” was heard when the bomb detonated, according to the New York Times. It went off in a walkway that runs underground between Seventh and Eighth avenues that connects the lettered subway lines, the A, C and E, with the numbered lines, the 1, 2, and 3.

“You can tell that it was not normal commuter noise,” said Roxanne Malaspina, 50, an employee in Bloomberg LP’s legal department. She had just gotten off the A train when she heard the explosion and joined a crowd running further into the station to catch a train away from the area. “It created a little bit of a panic in that underground passageway,” Malaspina said. “It’s not like normal commuter chaos.”

The Port Authority Bus Terminal where the explosion took place, is the largest in the country and the busiest in the world - serving about 225,000 commuters a day.  It's what's known by law enforcement officials as a 'soft target' because it handles a lot of traffic but doesn't have the same kind of security as a place like an airport.

The terrorist was found injured at the scene and rushed to Bellevue Hospital. He was wearing what appears to be a homemade pipe bomb attacked to his body with velcro and zip ties.  Authorities say Ullah is talking to investigators at the hospital.  Three other people also reported to local hospitals for minor injuries like ringing in the ears and headaches. 

Video surveillance captured the explosion. It showed a crowd of commuters trudging forward toward the camera when a cloud of smoke and dust bursts into the picture. As the cloud fills the screen, dozens of commuters run. One person falls to the floor, apparently injured.

Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC's Morning Joe that the suspect 'supposedly was setting the device off in the name of ISIS' and that it was 'definitely a terrorist attack, definitely intended'.

At a morning press conference, current NYPD Commission James O'Neill said that the suspect 'did make statements' but that they are not going to comment on them yet. Though it's still early in the investigation, New York City officials say it was definitely an attempted terror attack. 'This was an attempted terror attack and thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals,' Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

CNN reports that it appears the Subway was not the intended target of the pipe bomb, and that it may have went off prematurely.  They also learned that the device was homemade and could have caused catastrophic damage if it went off as intended.

Commissioner O'Neill said that they have obtained CCTV footage of the attack, but they have not detailed yet what it shows. 

The attack was the second on New Yorkers in six weeks, coming after a man in a rented truck drove up a crowded bike path on Halloween. Monday’s explosion came at the height of Christmas season, when the city is filled with daytrippers and tourists expecting a fairytale Manhattan.

New York Mayor Andrew Cuomo said a bombing in the subway is 'one of our worst nightmares' - but he said New Yorkers will get through this as they have before on 9/11 and even the most recent terror attack on Halloween.

'This is the New York. The reality is we are the target by many who would like to make a statement against democracy and against freedom. We have the Statue of Liberty in our harbor and that makes us an international target.

'We understand that anyone can go on the internet and download garbage and vileness on how to put together an amateur-level explosive device and that is the reality that we live with.

'The counter reality is that this is New York and we all pitch together and we are a savvy people and we keep our eyes open and that's what 'see something, say something' is all about. And we have the best law enforcement on the globe and we're all working together extraordinarily well,' Gov. Cuomo said. 

The Port Authority Bus Terminal, which is connected to the Times Square station by a tunnel, closed. Subway lines were delayed and bypassing Times Square, and PATH trains were accepting bus riders.

President Donald Trump was briefed on the incident, according to spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The motivation for the Monday blast was unclear.

After the Halloween attack, Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant from Paterson, New Jersey, was charged with terrorism. Eight people died, including five visitors from Argentina, and 12 were injured when a rental truck that authorities said Saipov drove plowed them over on a West Side Highway bike path. Saipov was shot by police but is expected to survive.

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Update 4: The NYPD is significantly stepping up security around the city, as a result of 3 civilians suffering minor injures during the explosion. Separately, the terrorist suspect Is now at Bellevue Hospital, with serious injuries.

Authorities released the following photo of the bomber:

Meanwhile, the NYPD and FBI have arrived at the suspects home in Brooklyn.

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Update 3: The New York Post reports, an ISIS-inspired Bangladeshi national set off an homemade explosive device at the Port Authority Bus Terminal subway station Monday morning, law enforcement sources said.

The suspected bomber – a 27-year-old who lived in Brooklyn – had wires attached to him and was armed with a five-inch metal pipe bomb and battery pack as he walked through the Manhattan transit hub, sources said. Two law enforcement sources have identified the suspect as Ullah Akayed.

Police took the man into custody.

Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the man was inspired by ISIS and originally from Bangladesh.

There was at least one injury and the wounded was the suspect. The man, who was seriously injured, was taken to Bellevue Hospital.

Investigators briefly spoke to the man, who told them he made the explosive device at the electrical company where he works.

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Update 2 : The Terrorist in NYC attack is injured and in custody. Bomb exploded prematurely. The suspect is a Muslim man from Brooklyn, east Flatbush area, Investigators are on the way to his home, for further investigations.

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A clip of the moment an alleged pipe bomb exploded at Port Authority around 6:30am on Monday morning has been released.

Meanwhile, according to Sarah Sanders, president Trump has been briefed on the explosion.

Also, according to a report that conflicts with previous news, the suspect’s explosive vest went off prematurely at Port Authority, resulting in the death of the suspect.

However this has been promptly refuted, and we now know that the attack is being treated as a possible terror attack:

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The latest developments:

  • PORT AUTHORITY BUS TERMINAL EXPLOSION CAUSED BY PIPE BOMB. FEW INJURIES, SUSPECT IN CUSTODY: ABC7
  • FEW INJURIES AFTER THE EXPLOSION TOOK PLACE BELOW GROUND AT PORT AUTHORITY
  • POLICE SOURCE TELL NY1 SUSPECT WAS WEARING AN EXPLOSIVE VEST: BBG
  • PORT AUTHORITY SUSPECT HAD POSSIBLE SECOND DEVICE; IN CUSTODY: PIX11
  • THE POLICE HAVE VIDEO AND ARE CONFIDENT THE SITUATION IS CONTAINED

 

The person in custody has been confirmed by CNN:

 

As the Daily Mail notes, the first explosion was felt around 6:30am Monday morning in a Subway station near the Port Authority bus terminal in Midtown Manhattan, just blocks from Times Square. 

The FDNY said they located a device near the passageway between the A and 1 trains, and that it's possible this was a terror attack.  Police have taken one man into custody who was wearing a device with wires on him.  Law enforcement agencies have responded to the scene and have set up a perimeter around the area.

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One person is reportedly in custody after an underground explosion - which some speculated as a pipe bomb - took place at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

According to the NYPD News twitter feed, the New York Police Department responded to reports of an explosion of unknown origin at Port Authority, located 42nd Street and 8th Ave, in Manhattan, while the A, C and E line are being evacuated at this time.

According to NBC News, the explosion has been confirmed...

... and Reuters adds that the New York Fire Department is likewise responding to an "incident" at Port Authority in New York City.

A WPIX reporter notes that the 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, N, Q, R, W and 7 train are bypassing 42 St. reports of explosion underground near 42nd and 8th Ave.

She also notes that at least one person was in custody following the explosion:

Good Morning America confirmed both the pipe bomb and custody aspects of the story.

Witness describe a "stampede" following the explosion at Port Authority.