Authorities say a weekend bombing in New York City may have been the work of a terror cell, reports The New York Times:
The police and federal agents are searching for a 28-year-old man, described as a naturalized citizen of Afghan descent, Ahmad Khan Rahami, in connection with the bombing in Manhattan on Saturday night, sending an unprecedented cellphone alert to millions of residents.
Mr. Rahami was identified on surveillance video near the locations of both the bomb that exploded in Chelsea and another device that did not detonate a few blocks away, according to law enforcement officials.
“I would not be surprised if we did have a foreign connection to the act,” he said on CNN on Monday morning.
Rahami is also wanted in connection with the explosion Saturday in Seaside Park, New Jersey, CNN reports:
Bombings in New York and New Jersey over the weekend — as well as the discovery of several unexploded devices — have led authorities to believe there may be a terror cell at work in those two states, law enforcement officials told CNN Monday.
And on Sunday night, a backpack with multiple bombs inside was found in Elizabeth, New Jersey. As authorities tried to investigate, one of those bombs exploded.
The series of attacks come as New York hosts world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly this week.
Officials have not identified which cell they believe may be connected to the attacks.
Twenty-nine people were injured Saturday evening in New York City’s Chelsea community when an explosion went off, sending scores seeking cover, multiple media outlets report.
Set off by a pressure cooker, the blast happen shortly before another suspicious device was found nearby, reports CNN. According to police, writes the news outlet, the blast was caused by an explosive device in or near a dumpster but there’s no word on who set it off or the motive.
As reported by CNN, the object was a “homemade” pressure cooker with dark-colored wiring protruding, connected by silver duct tape to what appears to be a cellphone, officials said. A piece of paper with writing on it was found nearby.
None of the officials would say at this point what was inside the pressure cooker, which has since been removed from the scene. For context, pressure cookers were used as explosive devices in the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured more than 260 in 2013.
“Now, I want to be clear: Whatever the cause, whatever the intention here, New Yorkers will not be intimidated,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference. “We are not going to let anyone change who we are or how we go about our lives.”
“A bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters Sunday, vowing that authorities will catch whoever is responsible.
The governor said there’s no evidence of an international terrorism link to Saturday’s blast, which shook New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood and sent panicked people scrambling for cover.
“A bomb going off is generically a terrorist activity. That’s how we’ll consider it. And that’s how we will prosecute it,” he said.
Eighty miles south of Manhattan, in Seaside Park, New Jersey, a pipe bomb put into a trash can went off Saturday morning during a charity race to benefit military veterans. No injuries were reported in this case, in what investigators were treating as a possible act of terrorism— as reported by Reuters.
Authorities are saying they do not believe there’s a connection between the two incidents.
“I was driving a car and next thing you know I felt an explosion,” said David Martinez, a victim who was driving by with his pregnant wife at the time of the NYC explosion. “I just blacked out, next thing I know I’m in an ambulance.” He, his wife and their baby are all uninjured.
All 29 individuals in the blast have been released from the hospital with minor injuries. And security has been ramped up in all five boroughs.