Officials have named a suspect in Saturday’s Chelsea bombing, and a bag full of pipe bombs was found in a backpack in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Millions of people living in the New York region received a cellphone alert this morning that named 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami as the man that law enforcement agencies believe is connected to the bombing that injured 29 people.
The FBI’s release states that Rahami “should be considered armed and dangerous,” and was most recently living in Elizabeth, New Jersey, which is where two men discovered a backpack that contained five pipe bombs outside Hector’s Place Restaurant, next to the train station.
— NY1 News (@NY1) September 19, 2016
Late Sunday night, police also pulled over a car on the Belt Parkway leading to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the FBI questioned five people; around the same time, authorities raided an apartment in Elizabeth. No arrests were made.
Asked if Rahami was part of a terrorist “cell” on CNN (by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s brother), Mayor Bill de Blasio responded, “I would be careful in using the word ‘cell.’ ”
“We do not know yet if it is only one individual, more than one individual, if it is an organized group or not.”
Speaking separately, Governor Cuomo changed the initial opinion he voiced on Sunday that the Chelsea bombing was likely a domestic act of terrorism: “I would not be surprised if we did have a foreign connection to the act.”
Elizabeth’s mayor told the Times that the men first thought the bag contained valuables and carried it less than a mile, but called police at around 8:30 p.m. when they realized what was in it. A few hours later, one of the pipe bombs detonated when the FBI’s robot attempted to dismantle it, and no one was injured.
“It is very possible that someone was trying to get rid of a package, as opposed to setting it off,” Elizabeth’s mayor said.
Three pipe bombs were also found on Saturday morning in Seaside Park, New Jersey, near the route of a 5-K race, but only one of them detonated and there were no injuries.
The pipe bombs differed from the pressure cooker found a few blocks from the site of Saturday’s bombing; that device, which used Christmas lights and could have been detonated by a cellphone, was described by an expert to the Times as, “the high end of sophistication for I.E.D.s in the United States.”
Mayor de Blasio is set to brief the media again around noon.