Police identify suspect in New York bombing that injured 29

Police and the FBI released a photo of Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, saying he was wanted for questioning about the explosion in the Chelsea neighbourhood on Saturday.
Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is wanted for questioning in connection with an explosion in New York City, is pictured on a poster released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on September 19, 2016. FBI / Reuters
Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is wanted for questioning in connection with an explosion in New York City, is pictured on a poster released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on September 19, 2016. FBI / Reuters

New York // New York city authorities are seeking a naturalised US citizen of Afghan origin in connection with a bombing on Saturday night that injured 29 people.

Police and the FBI released a photo of Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, saying he was wanted for questioning about the explosion in the Chelsea neighbourhood.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Mr Rahami, of New Jersey, “could be armed and dangerous”.

“We know a lot more than we did just 24 hours ago. It’s certainly leaning more in the direction that this was a specific act of terror,” he said.

Twenty-nine people were hurt when the bomb exploded in the upmarket Chelsea district of Manhattan, damaging buildings, shattering glass and sending shrapnel flying.

A second bomb was uncovered by police four blocks away and defused safely, before being sent to the FBI in Virginia for forensic examination.

Both bombs were pressure cookers filled with shrapnel and made with mobile phones, Christmas lights and explosive compound, The New York Times reported, citing law enforcement officials.

On Sunday, up to five suspicious devices were found in a backpack in a rubbish can near a train station in neighbouring New Jersey, one of which exploded as a bomb squad was attempting to disarm it, the local mayor and media said on Monday.

As a robot examined one device it “cut a wire and it exploded”, the mayor of the town of Elizabeth, Christian Bollwage, said.

The bag was discovered by two men scavenging through rubbish at around 8.30pm local time, near the Elizabeth train station on New Jersey Transit’s Northeast Corridor rail line.

The men had reported seeing wires and a pipe coming out of the package, Mr Bollwage said.

There was no immediate report of injuries or damage. The mayor warned that other explosions were expected.

Trains traveling through Elizabeth from New Jersey’s local transit line and Amtrak had been suspended, the mayor said.

Amtrak said 2,400 passengers were affected and that trains were being brought into other stations for people to get other transportation.

It was not clear when the Elizabeth station would be open, a threat to cause major issues on the Monday morning commute into New York.

On Saturday, a pipe bomb exploded about an hour from the Elizabeth train station in Seaside Park, New Jersey, forcing the cancellation of a military charity 5K run.

Officials said it did not appear that those two incidents were connected, though they were not ruling anything out.

Investigators did not comment on whether they thought the Elizabeth incident was connected to either of the blasts in New York and Seaside Park.

Mr Bollwage said that he was not willing to say that Elizabeth was a target, and that it was possible that someone worried about the authorities was trying to get rid of the package.

“I’m extremely concerned for the residents of the community, but more importantly extremely concerned for everyone in the state and country where someone can just go and drop a backpack into a garbage can that has multiple explosives in it with no timers and then you have to wonder how many people could have been hurt,” he said.

* Agence France-Presse and Associated Press

Published: September 19, 2016 04:00 AM

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