NEW YORK ― Police captured a suspect in what they called a
“terror-related incident” in the transit system near Times
Square during rush hour on Monday morning.
An improvised, low-tech pipe bomb device was affixed to his
chest with Velcro and zip ties. The
explosion, which occurred around 7:20 a.m. in the subway
near Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street, immediately plunged the
commuter hub into chaos.
Five people have been treated at two Mount Sinai hospitals for
minor injuries related to the incident, the hospital said in a
statement to HuffPost. They had all been released by about
5 p.m. local time.
Police identified the
suspect as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, who they said is a
U.S. resident from the Bangladeshi city of Chittagong.
According to investigators, Ullah, who had no criminal record,
triggered the bomb intentionally and mentioned the
self-described Islamic State after his arrest. He last visited
Bangladesh on Sept. 8, authorities said.
Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press the suspect
used matches, a lightbulb and a nine-volt battery to
ignite a pipe stuffed with explosive material, but the
blast wasn’t powerful enough to create harmful shrapnel. The
man was injured himself, and had burns on his hands and
abdomen, as well as lacerations, authorities said. He was being
treated at Bellevue Hospital.
Akayed Ullah, a Bangladeshi man who police say attempted to
detonate a homemade bomb in New York City on Monday, in a
photo released by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission.
(New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission/Handout/Reuters)
The bomber reportedly told investigators he was inspired by terror
attacks on Christmas markets in Europe, and chose the
location in Manhattan due to its holiday-themed posters, The
New York Times reported. He also said the bombing was in
retaliation for U.S. airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria
and other locations.
Officials were preparing to charge Ullah in federal court in
Manhattan, and the incident is being investigated by the Joint
Terrorism Task Force, the Times reported.
Ullah lived with his father, mother and brother in an area of
Brooklyn that has a large Bangladeshi community, his neighbors
told the AP.
Alan Butrico, who owns the house next door to Ullah and a
locksmith business two doors down, said: “It’s very weird … You
never know who your neighbors are.”
The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission said Ullah had a
black cab/limousine driver’s license from 2012 to 2015, after
which it expired.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill called the explosion a
“terror-related incident” during a mid-morning news conference.
He declined to elaborate on Ullah’s statement, but called on
citizens to come forward with information about the event and
other concerning behavior.
“We are New Yorkers. We don’t live in fear,” O’Neill said at a briefing.
“If you see something doesn’t look right, you have an
obligation to come forward, call 911, flag down a cop, and give
us a chance to investigate it.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) described the explosive as a
“low-tech device” and said the plot was isolated to one
“This is one of my nightmares: a terror attack in the subway
system. Luckily, the damage was minimal, but this was one in
a growing pattern that we’re seeing develop,” Cuomo said on
NY1 later Monday afternoon. “The good news
is that we were on top of it. We have the greatest law
enforcement force on the planet, in my opinion, and the
reality was not as bad as the fear.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at an earlier press conference
alongside Cuomo, stressed that terrorists “yearn to attack
New York City.”
“All we know of is one individual who, thank God, was
unsuccessful in his aims,” he said.
President Donald Trump said in a statement
that the attempted attack proved the relevance of his
executive order restricting the entry of travelers from eight
countries into the United States. He also said the attempt
showed the need for restrictions to so-called chain
migration, which allows people to sponsor visas of family
members besides spouses and unmarried minor children.
“First and foremost, as I have been saying since I first
announced my candidacy for President, America must fix its
lax immigration system, which allows for too many dangerous,
inadequately vetted people to access our country,” the
The area where the explosion occurred is one of New York
City’s busiest tourist and commuter zones. The Times
Square-42nd Street/Port Authority station serves a dozen
subway lines and a variety of local and regional bus lines.
The blast immediately sent the key transit hub into
chaos. The A, C and E subway lines were evacuated,
Sgt. Brendan Ryan told HuffPost, and the busy Port
Authority bus terminal was cleared and temporarily shut
down. Other trains bypassed Times Square and Port
Rosemary Usoh, 40, told HuffPost she was on the third floor
of the bus terminal around 7:15 a.m. when at least a dozen
police officers with automatic weapons shouted for people to
evacuate the building immediately.
“They yelled at us to get out, that there was an explosion,”
Usoh said. “I was nervous. There were a lot of people
Alicja Wlodkowski, 51, told The New York
Times that she was in a restaurant inside the bus
terminal building when the explosion occurred.
“A woman fell, and nobody even stopped to help her because it
was so crazy,” Wlodkowski said. “Then it all slowed
down. I was standing and watching and scared.”
Video shows emergency crews responding to the Port Authority
bus terminal on 42nd Street.
The Port Authority said the subway entrance outside the
building on Eighth Avenue was closed “due to police
activity.” The bus terminal building was evacuated and shut
down for several hours. It reopened later in the morning, but
the Port Authority warned bus
commuters to “contact their carrier for the most current
Police closed surrounding streets.
This story has been updated with new details on the
suspect and comments from Cuomo and Trump.
- This article originally appeared on