NYC attack: Who is suspect Akayed Ullah?

Now Reading:

NYC attack: Who is suspect Akayed Ullah?

Text size Aa Aa

US prosecutors on Tuesday (December 12) brought federal criminal charges against a Bangladeshi man accused of setting off a bomb in Manhatten's Port Authority bus terminal during morning rush hour a day earlier.

Akayed Ullah, 27, was charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, using a weapon of mass destruction, bombing a public place, destruction of property by means of explosive and use of a destructive device.

The Suspect

Ullah, 27, was found at the scene with burns and lacerations to his hands and abdomen.

He was arrested and taken to hospital where he was held in custody.


A passport photo of Akayed Ullah

Ullah said he carried out the attack in the name of ISIL and told investigators that he was angry about the killing of Muslims around the world, according to NBC News, citing a senior law enforcement official.

The official was also quoted as saying the suspect watched ISIL propaganda online and read other extremist writings, having learnt how to make the explosive online.

Multiple senior law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation said that he came to the United States from Bangladesh on February 21, 2011, with an immigrant visa.

Ullah was a permanent resident of the US with a Green Card that granted him legal status.

He also had a taxi driver's license from March 2012 to March 2015 and was believed to have recently worked at an electric company.

Ullah, who multiple senior law enforcement officials said planned the attack himself, wasn't on the authorities' radar aside from several traffic tickets.

AKM Shahidul Hoque, inspector general of Bangladeshi national police, told Reuters that Ullah had no criminal record in Bangladesh.

The device

Ullah detonated a device “based on a pipe bomb,” according to the deputy commissioner of the NYPD.

“It was affixed to his person with a combination of Velcro and zip ties. Bomb technicians are processing the crime scene,” he told a press conference, adding that experts were analysing the device.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told MSNBC that the bomb was low-tech.

"Our information is that he detonated the bomb. The explosive chemical in the bomb went off. It did not have the desired effect of causing the pipe itself to shatter, which would have caused the more significant damage," he said.

This is contrary to initial reports which indicated that the bomb could have exploded prematurely.

Injured people

Three others sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the explosion.

The investigation

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the incident was "an attempted terrorist attack".

“Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals,” he added.

The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force was also investigating the incident.

US President Donald Trump said in a statement that Monday's incident was an "attempted mass murder attack".

He blamed Ullah's entry into the country on "extended family-chain migration," a term used by supporters of tougher immigration laws when describing how permanent US residents and citizens can "sponsor" relatives to come to the country legally.

"Congress must end chain migration," he continued.

First responders

Four Port Authority Police Union officers prevented a secondary explosion with their "split-second reaction," according to union president Paul Nunziato.

Two of the officers were former Marines and a third, who was in the US army, did three tours in Iraq.