On Saturday night at around 8:30 p.m., an explosion in a dumpster rocked New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, injuring 29 people. Nearby, another explosive device was found, undetonated. Earlier that day, in Seaside Park, New Jersey, a bomb exploded near the starting point of a charity race. And on Sunday night, about 70 miles northwest of Seaside Park, a backpack with multiple bombs was found by authorities at a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey. One of those bombs was accidentally detonated by a robot deployed to destroy it.
On Monday, 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, believed to be responsible for the explosions in New York City and New Jersey, was taken into custody after a shootout with police.
The bombing could be an act of terrorism with a foreign connection, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “I would not be surprised if we did have a foreign connection to the act,” Cuomo told CNN Monday. He had suggested on Sunday that the attack did not appear to have ties to a global terrorism network.
Here’s a look at what we know so far:
A recap of events
A pipe bomb exploded in a trash can Saturday at 9:35 a.m. in Seaside Park, New Jersey, shortly before a charity 5K race for military members. There were no injuries or damages, and the Semper Five race was canceled.
Then later that day, at around 8:30 p.m., a blast on West 23rd Street in Manhattan shook apartment buildings and shattered glass. Twenty-nine people sustained minor injuries. Nearby, police retrieved another explosive device made with a pressure cooker.
Five people in a vehicle near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Brooklyn Sunday night were stopped and questioned by the FBI. The New York Times reported that an official said that the individuals may have been from the same family and that they may have been on their way to the airport. No one was arrested.
Five explosive devices were found Sunday night at the train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The Associated Press reported that two men saw wires and a pipe coming out of a package. One bomb exploded around 12:30 a.m. that morning when a robot was deployed to destroy it. The incident prompted authorities to temporarily halt regional commuter and Amtrak train service.
— Anthony DiLorenzo (@ADiLorenzoTV) September 19, 2016
NYPD sent an Amber Alert Monday morning to announce that it was searching for Ahmad Khan Rahami in connection to the New York bombing. He was captured hours later in Linden, New Jersey, after a shootout with police. The suspect was wounded, as were two officers, but not seriously. Linden Mayor Derek Armstead said Rahami was discovered that morning sleeping in the doorway of a bar. A policeman sent to investigate recognized the suspect, and a gun fight ensued.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “We have every reason to believe this [the New York bombing] was an act of terror,” during a news conference Monday afternoon. De Blasio hailed the emergency alert system that was used in the New York area to notify millions that law enforcement was searching for the suspect. The mayor also promised increased police visibility — including bag searches and bomb-sniffing dogs — this week, as the city hosts the United Nations General Assembly.
William Sweeney, the FBI’s assistant director of the New York division, said investigators were studying the suspect’s social network. Sweeney said he had “no indication” that a terror cell was operating in New York, but that the investigation was ongoing.
What we know about Ahmad Khan Rahami
Rahami was born in Afghanistan on Jan. 23, 1988. The FBI described Rahami as 200-pound, 5-foot-6 man with brown hair, brown eyes and brown facial hair. The agency said the suspect’s last known address was in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage, who held a news conference outside the home of Rahami and his family, noted that his family had owned and operated a fried chicken restaurant since 2002, reported The Guardian. The Associated Press reported that Rahami had worked in his family’s restaurant. Police searched the family’s home Monday, looking for the suspect.
What we know about the bombs
An unnamed law enforcement official told the Associated Press that traces of Tannerite explosives were found in the New York bombing. Tannerite is binary explosive, meaning two powders mixed together before detonation, which can be legally bought in many sporting goods stores.
What’s the difference between a pipe bomb and a pressure cooker bomb, like the ones recently found in New York and New Jersey? Science correspondent Miles O'Brien filed this NewsHour report in 2013.
Posted by PBS NewsHour on Monday, September 19, 2016
What’s the difference between a pipe bomb and a pressure cooker bomb, like the ones recently found in New York and New Jersey? Science correspondent Miles O’Brien filed this NewsHour report in 2013.
What we don’t know
- How the New York and New Jersey bombings (or possible attempted bombings) are connected.
- Why police are targeting Rahami and whether anyone else is being investigated.
- Whether the suspect has any connections to foreign terrorist groups.