US charges Afghan-born suspect with New York, New Jersey attacks

US prosecutors said Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, carried out twin bombings on Saturday in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood and along the route of a US Marine Corps run in the New Jersey town of Seaside Park.

By: AFP | New York | Published:September 21, 2016 3:08 pm
US, US bombings, US bombings suspect, Afghan born, new york blast, new jersey blast, Ahmad Khan Rahami, restaurant worker, afghan restaurant worker, world news, indian express In this photo, Ahmad Khan Rahami is taken into custody after a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey. (Source: AP/File)

The United States has charged an Afghan-born American restaurant worker, who was critically wounded in a police shootout, with detonating and planting bombs in New York and New Jersey.

US prosecutors said Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, carried out twin bombings on Saturday in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and along the route of a US Marine Corps run in the New Jersey town of Seaside Park.

The 13-page indictment slapped him with four charges, including use of weapons of mass destruction, bombing a place of public use and destruction of property by means of fire or explosives.

He was captured on Monday while carrying a handwritten journal that lauded Osama bin Laden and US-born Al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki, and criticized US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, it said.

He will be transported to Manhattan to face the charges, said federal prosecutors in New York. If convicted, he risks spending the rest of his life behind bars.

Prosecutors said 31 people were wounded in the Chelsea attack, including a victim from Britain, a driver knocked unconscious and a woman whose body was pierced with ball bearings, metal and wood.

The bomb was a pressure cooker device, packed with ball bearings and steel nuts, placed in a dumpster and detonated by a timed device — similar to a second pressure cooker bomb discovered four blocks away.

Five pipe bombs found in Rahami’s hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey and the second device safely defused in Chelsea, were covered in the suspect’s fingerprints, the indictment alleged.

Surveillance footage also put him in Chelsea, and Rahami bought the ingredients for the bombs from eBay over the summer, prosecutors said.

A video recovered from a relative’s cell phone also allegedly showed Rahami igniting an incendiary device just two days before the bombings in or near his home in Elizabeth, the indictment alleged.

Rahami was shot and captured on Monday in Linden, New Jersey, just four hours after the FBI released his mugshot and sent an emergency cellphone alert to millions of people.