New York is once again the target of a terrorist attack on Monday but this time, it seems the suspected terrorist went off a little prematurely.
Police have the alleged bomber in custody after his explosive vest detonated between Times Square Subway Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 7:20 a.m. - just before the morning rush. Closed circuit video shows the suspect walking down a tunnel which connects the two stations before his vest explodes.
Fortunately, it seems there may have been some sort of technical issue with his vest’s construction. The improvised explosive devices mostly injured himself, while three others were admitted to hospital with minor injuries such as headaches and tinnitus.
The suspect, Akayed Ullah, is a 27-year-old Bangladeshi national who’s been living and working in the United States for seven years. Ullah was rushed to hospital with more serious injuries but was able to speak to police in custody, according to the New York Post.
“They’ve been bombing in my country and I wanted to do damage here,” Ullah told police, although it wasn’t clear which country he was referring to. The United States and Bangladesh are allies, with no military operations being performed there.
Authorities believe that while the terrorist attack was certainly inspired by ISIS, Ullah is not an ISIS member and has not been in contact with the terrorist group.
“Let’s be clear that this was an attempted terrorist attack,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio as he addressed the city Monday morning in the wake of the second terrorist attack in as many months. “As New Yorkers, our lives revolve around the subways. When we hear of an attack in the subways, it’s incredibly unsettling,” de Blasio said, before adding, “Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals. Thank God our first responders were there so quickly to address the situation, to make sure people were safe. Thank God the only injuries as we know at this point were minor.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo was present alongside Mayor de Blasio and had his own statement to add: “This is New York. The reality is that we are a target by many who would like to make a statement against democracy, against freedom. We have the Statue of Liberty in our harbor and that makes us an international target.”
The attempted attack comes mere days after The USA announced the controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The decision sparked outrage across the Muslim world, with thousands of protesters taking part in a “day of rage” in Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital.