Update (2 pm ET): In a harrowing account of today’s Times Square terrorist attack, the New York Post interviewed several witnesses who shared their accounts of the immediate aftermath of the attack, which triggered a small stampede out of the narrow subway tunnel where Akayed Ullah detonated his homemade pipe bombs.
“I heard a kaboom. It was shaky,” said Jamar Moore, 39, who was near a turnstile when he felt the explosion.
“There was a little rumble. Everyone just hit the stairs and started running. People were losing their pocketbooks. Once we heard that pop, everybody was out.”
In the mad scramble to flee after the would-be suicide bomber’s explosive device erupted underground, people at the station were falling over each other, trampling on others and losing their shoes, Moore recalled.
“People started getting trampled. I see about three to four people falling,” he said.
Sarah Benelli, 35, was on an A train that had pulled into 42nd Street/Port Authority when the bomb detonated, shaking the whole train and causing frightened commuters to jump on board to try to get away.
“I had headphones on, but I felt this rattle in my chest. I pulled the headphones out, and it sounded just like thunder. It reverberated for a couple seconds, and it was really loud,” said the Inwood resident.
“As I heard the rumbling, I heard people on the platform running on the train. There were a couple expletives; people were obviously scared. A few people ducked down in the train, and people were shouting to get away from the doors so the doors could close. They wanted to get out of there.”
As we noted earlier, Ullah told police that his attack was an act of vengeance against the US for violence in Gaza.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in her first official comment on today’s attack that Trump’s proposed ban on “Chain Migration” might’ve prevented today’s attack.
So Sarah Sanders claimed that the president’s policy of an end to chain migration would have prevented this morning’s attempted attack in NYC even though the suspect came to the U.S. in 2011…
— Rebecca Shabad (@RebeccaShabad) December 11, 2017
In a story reminiscent of the hero cop who helped subdue the attacker during the Halloween attack in lower Manhattan, police officials are lauding one hero officer who arrested Ullah.
PICTURED: Hero Port Authority Officer Jack Collins, who arrested and stopped the 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, from carrying out his attack, pic.twitter.com/S4g77ohI2d
— New York City Alerts (@NYCityAlerts) December 11, 2017
Update (12:30 pm ET): Akayed Ullah, the 27-year-old would-be suicide bomber who detonated an explosive device underground near the Port Authority Bus Terminal this morning – an attack that was timed to coincide with morning rush hour foot traffic – told investigators that he carried out the attack to mete out revenge on America, which he blamed for bombings in his home country, according to the New York Post.
The Post added that Ullah was an NYC cab driver until recently, when his licensed lapsed and he neglected to renew it. Ullah told authorities in sum and substance from his hospital bed: “They’ve been bombing in my country and I wanted to do damage here,” sources said. Ullah attached two pipe bombs to his person using velcro and zip ties.
The bombing occurred around 7:20 am inside the subway passageway between West 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue and West 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue. Ullah suffered burns to his hands and abdomen, along with lacerations. He injured three others who were in proximity to him, and was quickly taken into custody and transported to Bellevue Hospital.
According to authorities, Ullah has reportedly been planning the attack for years.
UPDATE MANHATTAN: The NYC terror suspect is believe to have been planning the attempted Terrorist attack for years near Times Square.
— NYC Scanner (@NYScanner) December 11, 2017
A 27-year-old Bangladeshi national was taken into custody with serious injuries after a suspected pipe bomb he was carrying malfunctioned and exploded prematurely inside a Midtown Manhattan subway station Monday morning. The explosion happened around 7:20am, in an underground tunnel linking the Port Authority Bus Terminal to Times Square.
The suspect, Akayed Ullah, wore the device that went off shortly after 7 a.m., Police Commissioner James O’Neill said at a news conference near the scene. Ullah suffered serious burns, while other victims had minor injuries, he said. In the sprawling Times Square station, the city’s busiest, a “low, muffled sound” was heard when the bomb detonated, according to the New York Times. It went off in a walkway that runs underground between Seventh and Eighth avenues that connects the lettered subway lines, the A, C and E, with the numbered lines, the 1, 2, and 3.
“You can tell that it was not normal commuter noise,” said Roxanne Malaspina, 50, an employee in Bloomberg LP’s legal department. She had just gotten off the A train when she heard the explosion and joined a crowd running further into the station to catch a train away from the area. “It created a little bit of a panic in that underground passageway,” Malaspina said. “It’s not like normal commuter chaos.”
The Port Authority Bus Terminal where the explosion took place, is the largest in the country and the busiest in the world – serving about 225,000 commuters a day. It’s what’s known by law enforcement officials as a ‘soft target’ because it handles a lot of traffic but doesn’t have the same kind of security as a place like an airport.
The terrorist was found injured at the scene and rushed to Bellevue Hospital. He was wearing what appears to be a homemade pipe bomb attacked to his body with velcro and zip ties. Authorities say Ullah is talking to investigators at the hospital. Three other people also reported to local hospitals for minor injuries like ringing in the ears and headaches.
Video surveillance captured the explosion. It showed a crowd of commuters trudging forward toward the camera when a cloud of smoke and dust bursts into the picture. As the cloud fills the screen, dozens of commuters run. One person falls to the floor, apparently injured.
Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that the suspect ‘supposedly was setting the device off in the name of ISIS’ and that it was ‘definitely a terrorist attack, definitely intended’.
At a morning press conference, current NYPD Commission James O’Neill said that the suspect ‘did make statements’ but that they are not going to comment on them yet. Though it’s still early in the investigation, New York City officials say it was definitely an attempted terror attack. ‘This was an attempted terror attack and thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals,’ Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
CNN reports that it appears the Subway was not the intended target of the pipe bomb, and that it may have went off prematurely. They also learned that the device was homemade and could have caused catastrophic damage if it went off as intended.
Commissioner O’Neill said that they have obtained CCTV footage of the attack, but they have not detailed yet what it shows.
The attack was the second on New Yorkers in six weeks, coming after a man in a rented truck drove up a crowded bike path on Halloween. Monday’s explosion came at the height of Christmas season, when the city is filled with daytrippers and tourists expecting a fairytale Manhattan.
New York Mayor Andrew Cuomo said a bombing in the subway is ‘one of our worst nightmares’ – but he said New Yorkers will get through this as they have before on 9/11 and even the most recent terror attack on Halloween.
‘This is the New York. The reality is we are the target by many who would like to make a statement against democracy and against freedom. We have the Statue of Liberty in our harbor and that makes us an international target.
‘We understand that anyone can go on the internet and download garbage and vileness on how to put together an amateur-level explosive device and that is the reality that we live with.
‘The counter reality is that this is New York and we all pitch together and we are a savvy people and we keep our eyes open and that’s what ‘see something, say something’ is all about. And we have the best law enforcement on the globe and we’re all working together extraordinarily well,’ Gov. Cuomo said.
The Port Authority Bus Terminal, which is connected to the Times Square station by a tunnel, closed. Subway lines were delayed and bypassing Times Square, and PATH trains were accepting bus riders.
President Donald Trump was briefed on the incident, according to spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The motivation for the Monday blast was unclear.
After the Halloween attack, Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant from Paterson, New Jersey, was charged with terrorism. Eight people died, including five visitors from Argentina, and 12 were injured when a rental truck that authorities said Saipov drove plowed them over on a West Side Highway bike path. Saipov was shot by police but is expected to survive.
* * *
Update 4: The NYPD is significantly stepping up security around the city, as a result of 3 civilians suffering minor injures during the explosion. Separately, the terrorist suspect Is now at Bellevue Hospital, with serious injuries.
PICTURED: suspected bomber being wheeled onto a ambulance after the explosion pic.twitter.com/U9PZsECchL
— New York City Alerts (@NYCityAlerts) December 11, 2017
Authorities released the following photo of the bomber:
Meanwhile, the NYPD and FBI have arrived at the suspects home in Brooklyn.
Update 3: The New York Post reports, an ISIS-inspired Bangladeshi national set off an homemade explosive device at the Port Authority Bus Terminal subway station Monday morning, law enforcement sources said.
The suspected bomber – a 27-year-old who lived in Brooklyn – had wires attached to him and was armed with a five-inch metal pipe bomb and battery pack as he walked through the Manhattan transit hub, sources said. Two law enforcement sources have identified the suspect as Ullah Akayed.
Police took the man into custody.
Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the man was inspired by ISIS and originally from Bangladesh.
There was at least one injury and the wounded was the suspect. The man, who was seriously injured, was taken to Bellevue Hospital.
Investigators briefly spoke to the man, who told them he made the explosive device at the electrical company where he works.
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