A Bangladeshi-origin man, who triggered a blast at a metro station in New York City, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terror group and was motivated by Israeli actions in Gaza, US officials said.
Akayed Ullah, the 27-year-old suspected bomber, detonated a pipe bomb strapped to his body in a crowded passageway during the morning rush hour, injuring himself and three others.
The device prematurely exploded between two subway platforms near Port Authority, America’s largest bus terminal, injuring four persons and causing chaos in one of the busiest commuter hubs in the metropolis, officials said.
He had pledged allegiance to the ISIS terror group and told investigators that his planed terrorist attack in New York was mainly because of the recent Israeli actions in Gaza, officials said as per multiple media reports.
A law enforcement official quoted by CNN said recent Israeli actions in Gaza had compelled Ullah to carry out the attack, adding that the suspect had said he was “upset” with the “incursion into Gaza”.
The Homeland Security spokesman Tyler Houlton said Ullah is now a lawful permanent resident. He came to the US in 2011 on an F43 family immigrant visa, which is granted to children of American citizens siblings.
According to Taxi and Limousine Commission, Ullah held a Taxi and Limousine Commission license from March 2012 to March 2015. His license was not renewed after that. Ullah told investigative officers that he made the explosive devise at his work place, which as per some media reports was an electric company.
Even though Ullah pledged allegiance to ISIS, law enforcement officials said as of now there is no known linkage between him and the terrorist outfit. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the device was a low intensity explosive device.
According to The New York Times, he chose the location of subway because of its Christmas-themed posters, recalling strikes in Europe against Christmas markets, and set off his bomb in retaliation for US airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and elsewhere, several law enforcement officials said.
Ullah told investigators that he was inspired by propaganda from the Islamic State terror group, according to law enforcement officials, The Washington Post reported. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the attempted terrorist attack by an immigrant is a failure of logic and sound policy not to adopt a merit-based immigration system.
“The President (Donald Trump) has asked Congress to work with him on ending the diversity lottery and chain migration. He has proposed switching to a merit-based system of immigration similar to the Canadian and Australian systems.
“That means welcoming the best and the brightest and turning away not only terrorists but gang members, fraudsters, drunk drivers and child abusers. Such a merit-based system would make us safer and welcome individuals who would be best able to assimilate and flourish in our country,” he said.