Suspect charged after New York City pipe bomb attack

Erika Holt
December 16, 2017

The man who authorities said detonated a makeshift bomb strapped to his chest in one of the New York City subway's busiest underground corridors has been charged in federal court with bombing of a public place, using a weapon of mass destruction and material support for a foreign terrorist organization.

Three people suffered minor injuries when Ullah attempted to detonate a pipe bomb secured to his midsection in a pedestrian tunnel under the sprawling Port Authority transportation complex, where many commuters from New York's suburbs arrive on buses and transfer to local subways. The device apparently failed to completely detonate, even though investigators said Ullah had some experience with electrical work.

Ullah (27) is being treated for lacerations and burns to his hand and abdomen at Bellevue Hospital after the bombing. "Officers also found a passport there in Ullah's name with handwriting that included one particularly chilling note, and i quote "Oh America die in your rage".

Ullah, who has lived in the United States since 2011, began his self-radicalisation in 2014 when he started viewing pro-Islamic State materials online, prosecutors said.

At a news conference, Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said Ullah picked a rush hour on a weekday to maximize casualties in his quest "to kill, to maim and to destroy".

Ahad said Ullah also returned to Bangladesh two years ago to get married and stayed for about three months.

Sources say the device was built using a 12-inch long pipe, black powder rigged with a 9 volt battery and a Christmas lights wire, and filled with nails.

USA prosecutors file federal charges against Akayed Ullah, who faces a maximum sentence of life in prison after being accused of using a weapon of mass destruction in Monday's bombing of a Manhattan commuter hub. The charges carry the possibility of life in prison, as Ullah is not eligible for the death penalty because no deaths resulted from his alleged crimes.

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Ullah allegedly said he intended for it to be a suicide bombing and that he watched Internet ISIS propaganda, read extremist writings and learned how to make bombs through online tutorials.

Authorities also searched Ullah's Brooklyn home and a nearby rented space and interviewed witnesses and relatives, leading his family to say they were "outraged" by law enforcement.

Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the attack Tuesday in calling on Congress to tighten immigration rules. He came to the US on an F-4 visa, a preferential visa available for those with family in the USA who are citizens or permanent residents. Authorities have described Ullah as a lone wolf who was inspired by the Islamic State, a common theme in recent attacks, Miller said.

Donald Trump has said he would end immigration provisions in response to the attack.

"On the way to carrying out the December 11 attack, Ullah posted a statement on his Facebook account that stated, 'Trump you failed to protect your nation, '" according to a federal court complaint filed by Special Agent Joseph Cerciello with Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. He was licensed to drive a livery cab from 2012 to 2015, but the license was allowed to lapse, officials said.

Law enforcement officials in the USA and in Bangladesh have said that Ullah was not on their radar for extremist views.

Police and relatives said Ullah last visited Bangladesh in September to see his wife and newborn son.

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