Port Authority explosion: Suspect ID’d in ‘attempted terrorist attack’
A Bangladeshi man reportedly inspired by ISIS set off a pipe bomb inside New York’s Port Authority bus terminal during rush hour Monday morning, sowing mass chaos but causing few injuries — likely because the “attempted terrorist” detonated his “low tech device” prematurely.
Akayed Ullah, 27, set off the “effectively low tech device” in a subway passageway just before 7:30 a.m., New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news conference. Ullah suffered burns and wounds to his body and appeared to be the only person seriously injured in the pipe bomb explosion, authorities said.
At least three other people suffered minor injuries, including ringing in the ears and headaches.
“This is New York, the reality is that we are a target by many who would like to make a statement against democracy, against freedom,” Cuomo said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “This was attempted terrorist attack,” adding that there was no additional threat at this time.
Ullah’s attack was inspired by ISIS, but had no direct contact with the terrorist group, law enforcement officials said. Authorities are investigating transit system video that captured the incident.
Ullah strapped the crude pipe bomb to his body with Velcro and zip ties. The suspect allegedly packed the 5-inch metal pipe bomb and battery pack into the right side of his jacket, but the device exploded earlier than intended, law enforcement sources told The New York Post. The suspect told police he made the bomb at the electrical company where he works, The New York Post reported.
A large police presence was spotted soon after the explosion in a section of Brooklyn that boasts a significant Bangladeshi population.
An NYPD source on the scene told Fox News a device went off, and there was a bomb strapped to a person. Port Authority police took down the suspected bomber at gunpoint, Port Authority Police Benevolent Association tweeted.
President Donald Trump was briefed on the incident, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted.
If the attack is confirmed to be ISIS-inspired, it would be the second ISIS-inspired attack in New York City in less than two months. An Oct. 31 terror attack killed eight people and injured 11 others after a man drove a rented truck into people walking and cycling on a bike path in Lower Manhattan.
Several people wrote on social media shortly after the reports of an explosion that there was mass chaos at the bus terminal, some saying there was a “stampede” when the blast was heard.
A Greyhound bus driver told Fox News he heard a loud noise and was soon ordered by authorities to leave.
“I don’t argue with the guns,” the man said.
John, 25, was on his way to work when he heard about the explosion: “It’s sad to say but it’s just another day [here].”
“It’s crazy. It’s chaos right now,” said Lisa, 53, who was visiting from Columbus, Ohio. “You do hear about it or see it, but I wasn’t expecting to see this on my run for Starbucks.”
Port Authority is the largest bus terminal in the U.S., and about 232,000 commuters go through the area daily. The number of passengers is expected to jump to 337,000 daily by 2040.
The terminal reopened Monday morning after it was temporarily closed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.