Four injured in botched New York terrorist attack
Man (27) in custody following morning explosion on subway system
A 27-year-old man was in custody on Monday after detonating an explosive device on the New York City subway during the morning commute.
The suspect, Akayed Ullah, was one of four people injured in the explosion, which occurred at about 7.20am in a passageway near 42nd Street and 8th Avenue, in midtown Manhattan near Times Square, New York City police said.
None of the injuries were life-threatening. New York police commissioner James O’Neill said the suspect had “an improvised low-tech explosive device attached to his body”. Daniel Nigro, the fire department commissioner, said Ullah sustained burns to his hands and torso while the three other people suffered “ringing ears and headaches”.
“This was an attempted terrorist attack,” said New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo said many groups and individuals viewed the city as a target. But he added that “this is New York and we all pitch together, and we are a savvy people and we keep our eyes open... we have the best law enforcement in the globe.”
Mr De Blasio said there were “no known additional incidents or activities” but there would be an increased police presence in the city.
The suspect, a Bangladeshi immigrant who lived in Brooklyn, was being treated at Bellevue hospital. Police said there was video of the attempted attack. Asked if the suspect was connected to the Islamic State terror group, Mr O’Neill said the suspect “did make statements” but did not elaborate.
The subway station where the blast happened is just below Port Authority bus terminal, the busiest in the world, serving at least 65 million passengers a year. On Monday morning, nearby Times Square and its surroundings were overwhelmed by police.
The explosion occurred less than two months after a man drove a truck into a bicycle lane on Manhattan’s west side, killing eight people. The suspect pleaded not guilty to 22 counts including providing material support to the Islamic State group.
Travellers at Port Authority reacted with bemusement, relief and some humor. Danny Nguyen (24) heard the explosion while he waited for a bus home to Philadelphia. He said police ran into the station. “I saw a mom trying to take her daughter up the elevator the wrong way, just panicking,” he said.
Tina Grimes (38) was supposed to be on a bus to Boston. She said she was going to make the best of her extra time in New York. “It’s too cold to walk around,” she said. “Maybe I’ll go shopping or something.”
The attack interrupted nearly every subway line and some trains were evacuated. Shaun Henderson was on the F train after the explosion and said he was just happy the trains were working, even if he was going to be late for work.
“It’s the subway, you know,” Mr Henderson said. “New Yorkers are used to this. The F train doesn’t need a pipe bomb to be f**ked up.”
Donald Trump was briefed on the situation but did not immediately respond. The usually frantic five lanes of 8th Avenue were closed to traffic from 34th Street to the site of the explosion although pedestrians and cyclists moved freely. Police blocked off the road between the huge frame of Port Authority and the New York Times skyscraper, across the street. – Guardian Service