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Latest: Suspect in subway blast moved to US from Bangladesh on preferential visa
11/12/2017 – 13:00:02
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Update 6pm : The 27-year-old man believed to have set off a pipe bomb in the New York City subway came to the US from Bangladesh seven years ago with a type of preferential visa for people with relatives who are US citizens or permanent residents, law enforcement officials have said.
Akayed Ullah was living in Brooklyn.
He told investigators on Monday he was inspired by the Islamic State group to carry out an attack, but had no direct contact with the terror group.
Officials said he is speaking with investigators from his hospital bed.
The suspect had burns on his abdomen and also to his hands.
Officials say he assembled the crude device in his apartment.
Investigators are talking to witnesses and his family.
Bangladesh has been expanding its anti-terror operations after grisly attacks killed dozens of people.
Three others suffered minor injuries in the blast.
Update 2.50pm: A man with a pipe bomb strapped to his body with Velcro and cable ties set off the crude device in the subway near Times Square on Monday, injuring himself and three other people at the height of the morning rush hour.
All four were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries in what the mayor and police labelled an attempted terror attack.
The city’s mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed: “This was an attempted terrorist attack” while the police commissioner James O’Neill said it was a “terror related” incident.
None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.
“Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals,” Mr de Blasio said.
The suspect was identified as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah.
Officials said he was inspired by the Islamic State group but had apparently not had any direct contact with the group.
The officials said the suspect lives in Brooklyn and may be of Bangladeshi descent.
Police are investigating whether Ullah intended to set off the device in the walkway, or whether he had meant to do it in a busier location.
A photo published by the New York Post showed a bearded man crumpled on the ground with his shirt apparently blown off and black soot covering his bare midriff.
A police officer is holding the man’s hands behind his back.
Authorities said the bomb was a low-tech explosive device.
They were investigating how it was made, and combing through surveillance footage that captured the blast on video.
Fire officials said the suspect had burns to his hands and abdomen.
The others who were injured suffered ringing in ears and headaches.
Elrana Peralta, a customer service worker for Greyhound, said she works in the Port Authority terminal complex near where the blast happened, but did not hear the explosion.
“All we could hear was the chaos,” she said.
“We could hear people yelling, ‘Get out! Get out! Get out!'”
John Miles, 28, from Vermont, was waiting for a bus to Massachusetts.
He also did not hear the blast, but saw police react.
“I didn’t know what was going on. Officers were running around. I was freaking out,” he said.
There was an announcement that people should take their bags and leave.
“They didn’t incite panic. It was fairly orderly.”
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Update 1.50pm: A pipe bomb strapped to a man went off in the New York City subway near Times Square on Monday, injuring the suspect and another person at the height of the morning rush hour, law enforcement officials said.
The bomber and the other person are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
The 7.30am blast filled the passageway, crowded with throngs of Monday morning commuters, with smoke.
The explosion triggered a massive emergency response by police and fire both above and below ground, disrupting subway and bus services at the nearby Port Authority bus terminal.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has tweeted that President Donald Trump has been informed.
Mr Trump “has been briefed on the explosion in New York City”, she said.
Video from above the Crossroads Of The World showed lines of police and emergency vehicles, their lights flashing, lining the streets and no other vehicle traffic moving.
Everything around the Port Authority area was shut down, a surreal scene at what would ordinarily be a bustling rush hour.
New Jersey Transit buses headed to the Port Authority were diverting to other locations.
NJ Transit said buses were taking passengers to Secaucus and Hoboken, where they could take trains into the city.
Earlier: An explosive device has been set off on a New York subway platform, police said.
The explosion happened at around 7.30am on 40th Street and Eighth Avenue near Times Square.
A suspect has been arrested and has non-life-threatening injuries.
One other person suffered a non-life-threatening injury, New York Fire Department said.
Passengers were evacuated as a precaution from the subway line where the explosion happened.
President Donald Trump “has been briefed on the explosion in New York City”, his press secretary Sarah Sanders said.
Andre Rodriguez, 62, told the New York Times that he heard an explosion shortly before 7.30am.
He added: “I was going through the turnstile.
“It sounded like an explosion, and everybody started running.”
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