Police arrest US citizen of Afghan origin for New York blast

Tuesday, Sep 20, 2016,11:10 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New York | A 28-year-old naturalised American citizen of Afghan descent was arrested Tuesday by US authorities following a shootout hours after the New York mayor conceded that the blast that injured 29 people here could be an act of “terrorism” with foreign links.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, the man suspected in bombings in New York and New Jersey, is now in custody after a shootout with police, CNN reported.

The shootout happened in Linden, New Jersey, a local and federal law enforcement official said. Rahami was taken to an ambulance in a stretcher with his right shoulder bloodied and bandaged.

Two officers were hit in the shootout with Rahami in Linden, New Jersey, the mayor of the nearby city of Elizabeth said. One officer’s vest was struck, and the other was shot in the hand.

Rahami, wanted for questioning in connection with bombings in New York and Seaside Park, New Jersey, is also believed to be connected to the pipe bombs found in a backpack on Sunday night in Elizabeth, New Jersey, sources said.

“Rahami is a US citizen of Afghan descent. His last known address was in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He is about 5’6 tall, has brown hair, brown eyes and brown facial hair,” the FBI had said adding the suspect could be “armed and dangerous”.

Rahami will be questioned in connection with the explosion that occurred yesterday in Chelsea district of Manhattan, New York, and injured 29 people, it said.

A second bomb that was discovered nearly four blocks away was defused successfully by the bomb disposal squad.

Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said there were “certain commonalities among the bombs,” that went off in New York yesterday and New Jersey today, leading authorities to believe “that there was a common group behind the bombs.”

“The more we learn with each passing hour, it looks more like terrorism,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a TV interview today.

Yesterday, the city administration while conceding that the blast was “intentional,” was careful not to use the word “terrorism”.

“Today’s information suggests it may be foreign-related but we’ll see where it goes,” Cuomo told another TV channel.

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said that President Barack Obama has been informed about the developments and he will make a statement later today.

Earlier, five people were being questioned by the FBI but none has been charged and the investigation was ongoing.

Security had already been tightened in the city for the ongoing UN General Assembly, but the presence of officers throughout New York City after the blast will be “bigger than ever,” de Blasio said.

Earlier Tuesday, the FBI found five explosive devices at a train station in New Jersey.

One of the devices detonated while a police robot was trying to disarm it.