New York explosion: police identify a suspect

The man has been identified as Ahmad Khan Rahami. Picture: NYPD
The man has been identified as Ahmad Khan Rahami. Picture: NYPD
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New York police have identified a suspect wanted for questioning for Saturday’s explosion in the Chelsea suburb of the city.

New York police have released a photo of a man wanted for questioning over the bombing that rocked a Manhattan neighbourhood.

The governor and mayor, meanwhile, said the blast looks more like it could be an act of terrorism with a foreign connection.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old naturalised US citizen from Afghanistan with an address in Elizabeth, New Jersey, should be considered armed and dangerous, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in one of a series of TV appearances just minutes after the photo was released.

READ MORE: New York explosion: 29 hurt in Manhattan blast

Governor Andrew Cuomo said as investigators gathered information they learned there were “certain commonalities among the bombs”, leading authorities to believe “that there was a common group behind the bombs”.

“We want to get this guy in for questioning,” Mr de Blasio said on CNN. “We need the facts to be able to piece all this together... I think we’re going to know a lot more in the course of the day. Things are moving very quickly.”

Early on Monday, FBI agents swarmed an apartment above a fried chicken restaurant in Elizabeth that is tied to Rahami. The activity came hours after one of five devices found at the nearby Elizabeth train station exploded while a bomb squad robot attempted to disarm it.

Saturday night’s blast in the bustling Chelsea neighbourhood in Manhattan injured 29 people, and another unexploded device made out of pressure cooker was found several blocks away. In the immediate aftermath of that bombing, Mr de Blasio and Mr Cuomo were careful to say there was no evidence of a link to international terrorism. Both said on Monday that appears to be changing.

“The more we learn with each passing hour is it looks more like terrorism,” Mr de Blasio said in a later interview on NY1 News.

Mr Cuomo, in a separate interview on MSNBC, said: “Today’s information suggests it may be foreign related but we’ll see where it goes... My operating premise is any time, any where, seven days a week you could have an incident like this.”

On Sunday night, FBI agents in Brooklyn stopped “a vehicle of interest” in the investigation of the Manhattan explosion, according to FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser.

She would not 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, and the investigation is continuing, Ms Langmesser said.

Mr Cuomo, touring the site of Saturday’s blast in Chelsea, said the unexploded pressure cooker device appeared “similar in design” to the bomb that exploded in Chelsea.

On Sunday, 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, said the official.

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.

On Sunday night, five devices were found in a rubbish near a train station in Elizabeth. The men had reported seeing wires and a pipe coming out of the package. One of the devices exploded as a bomb squad attempted to disarm it with a robot. There were no reports of injuries.

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