National Security

Manhunt ends for suspect linked to NY, NJ bombings

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A 28-year-old wanted in connection with suspected weekend bomb plots in New York and New Jersey was arrested on Monday following a shootout with police and a roughly four-hour manhunt.

The man, Ahmad Khan Rahami, was taken into custody after a shots were exchanged in the town of Linden, N.J., near his hometown of Elizabeth, N.J.

The arrest followed a frenzied search around the region, as officials suggested that as many as four separate incidents could be linked, and may have been connected to an international network.

{mosads}“You have some similarities among the bombs and the way they were made and put together and some of the technology that was used in the bombs,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said on “CBS This Morning” earlier in the day. “So there is some suggestion that there might have been a common identity across all the bombs. But again this is preliminary.

“I suspect there might be a foreign connection. That’s what we’re hearing today as the investigation goes on.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) warned that Rahami, a U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan, should be considered armed and dangerous but declined to detail how he might be have been involved in the Saturday evening blast in Manhattan, which injured at least 29 people but left no deaths.

Hours after the blast went off in the neighborhood of Chelsea, an unexploded device was discovered just blocks away. That same day, a bomb exploded on the route of a charity race in Seaside Park, N.J. Early on Monday morning, officials discovered multiple bombs in a backpack near a train station in Elizabeth.  

The New Jersey State Police on Monday said that Rahami was wanted in connection with both the New York and Seaside Park explosions.

President Obama had been updated on the developments, spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Before dawn on Monday, FBI agents and Elizabeth police reportedly raided multiple homes and small businesses in Elizabeth, including an apartment suspected to belong to Rahami.

Hours earlier, agents questioned five people in a car stopped on a Brooklyn highway in connection with the investigation.

“I can safely say that that stop of that vehicle was helpful and important,” de Blasio said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“We know [police have] gotten a lot more information in the last 24 hours along with FBI, and I do think each hour is changing the situation now,” he added. “Things are emerging very rapidly.

“But this individual is the key, getting him in for questioning. I think that’s going to tell us a lot as to whether it was a lone wolf or something bigger.”

The FBI described Rahami as being approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing roughly 200 pounds, with brown hair, brown eyes and dark facial hair. 

Across the city, emergency alerts flashed on New Yorkers’ cellphones to warn them of Rahami’s identity and to call 911 if they spot him. The warning appeared to be the first of its kind ever deployed in the nation’s largest city.

The manhunt kicked off just as diplomats from around the globe were descending on New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly, an event notorious for halting traffic and shutting down sections of the city over security concerns. 

The police presence is only likely to escalate, officials suggested, as more heavily armed officers take position across the city.

So far, there are no public clues as to what may have inspired the apparent terror plot, which notably did not target major New York tourist sites or transit hubs. Officials said there were no signs of a connection to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or other similar extremist groups. 

Over the weekend, ISIS claimed credit for a stabbing attack at a mall in St. Cloud, Minn., that injured eight people. The suspect in that incident was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer.

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees, used the new attacks to tout their own proposals and national security bona fides.

Trump suggested in an interview with Fox News’s “Fox and Friends” that the incidents in New York and New Jersey were part of a trend connected to immigration. 

“I think there’s many foreign connections,” he said, while suggesting that the U.S. needed to profile against people from the Middle East.

“We’re allowing these people to come into our country and destroy our country and make it unsafe for people.” 

Clinton, meanwhile, referenced her time “at the table in the Situation Room” while serving as secretary of State, and attacked Trump for his harsh words.

“The kind of language and rhetoric Trump has used is giving comfort to our adversaries,” Clinton said in a news conference.

–This report was updated at 11:40 a.m.

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton New York Terrorism

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