NY mayor says man could be ‘armed and dangerous’
Authorities in the US were last night searching for a naturalised citizen from Afghanistan for questioning about the explosion in a Manhattan neighbourhood that injured 29 people.
As governor Andrew Cuomo conceded that investigators could no longer rule out international terrorism, the man sought for questioning was identified as 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami (pictured).
New York mayor Bill de Blasio said he could be armed and dangerous.
“We need to get this guy in right away,” de Blasio said on CNN. “My experience is once the FBI zeroes in on someone, they will get them.”
Cuomo had said on Sunday that there was no evidence to suggest that the bombing was related to international terrorism, but he appeared to back track yesterday, saying: “Information suggests it may be foreign related, but we’ll see where it goes.”
Authorities were still working to determine whether there is a connection between multiple explosive devices found over the weekend in two states: the Manhattan explosion, an unexploded pressure cooker device blocks away, a pipe bomb blast at a Jersey shore town and five explosive devices at a New Jersey train station.
On Sunday, FBI agents in Brooklyn stopped “a vehicle of interest” in the investigation of the Manhattan explosion, according to FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser.
She wouldn’t provide further details, but a government official and a law enforcement official who were briefed on the investigation said that five people in the car were being questioned at an FBI building in Manhattan.
No one has been charged with any crime, and the investigation is continuing, Langmesser said.
Cuomo, touring the site of Saturday’s blast that injured 29 people in Manhattan’s Chelsea district, said the unexploded pressure cooker device appeared “similar in design” to the bomb that exploded in Chelsea, but he didn’t provide details.
A federal law enforcement official said the Chelsea bomb contained a residue of tannerite, an explosive often used for target practice that can be picked up in many sporting goods stores. The discovery of tannerite may be important as authorities probe whether the two New York City devices and the pipe bomb at the Jersey shore are connected.
Mobile phones were discovered at the site of both bombings, but no tannerite residue was identified in the New Jersey bomb remnants, in which a black powder was detected.
The pipe bomb exploded on Saturday in Seaside Park, New Jersey, before a charity 5K race to benefit Marines and sailors. The race was cancelled and no one was injured.
Late on Sunday, five suspicious devices were found near a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage said the devices were found in a bag in a rubbish bin by two men who reported seeing wires and a pipe coming out of the package. One of the devices exploded as a bomb squad used a robot to try to disarm it.
There was no immediate word on whether the devices were similar to those in nearby Seaside Park or New York City.