Law enforcement sources have identified the man who attempted a bombing at the Port Authority Bus Terminal subway station in New York City on Monday morning as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah.
“Ullah is from Bangladesh and had been living in Brooklyn. He was injured when the device apparently went off prematurely and was rushed to Bellevue Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He suffered burns to his hands and other lacerations,” reported CBS News in New York.
According to Police Commissioner James O’Neill, Ullah had two explosive devices, one of which was “affixed to his body with velcro and zip ties.”
The New York Times quoted a “senior city official” who said police had to strip Ullah naked to remove the device affixed to his body.
CBS described one of these devices as “crudely-made” with “wires protruding from it.” The New York Post wrote of a “5-inch metal pipe bomb and battery pack strapped to his midsection.”
“Investigators briefly spoke to the alleged bomber, who told them he made the explosive device at the electrical company where he works,” according to the New York Post report.
By all indications, Ullah was planning a mass-casualty attack, evidently hoping to detonate his bombs in a crowded area. One anti-terrorism officer quoted by the NY Post said he “could have killed a lot of people” if one of his bombs had not detonated prematurely.
There was a good deal of initial confusion about Ullah’s status, with some early reports stating that he was killed or mortally wounded in the explosion, but later reports indicated his injuries were not life-threatening and mostly consisted of burns on his hands and abdomen. Photos released of the suspect in custody display no indication of severe injuries from a bomb blast:
From police sources: pic.twitter.com/xFNagGmoh6
— Joe Borelli (@JoeBorelliNYC) December 11, 2017
Several sources have described Ullah as “ISIS-inspired” or acting in the name of the Islamic State, a claim most prominently made by former NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton in an MSNBC appearance on Monday morning. Rukmini Callimachi, a New York Times correspondent specializing in Islamic State news, noted that pro-ISIS channels on social media are celebrating him as an Islamic State jihadi:
2/ The suspect has been identified by police as a 27-year old of Bangladeshi descent with a last known address in Brooklyn. His name is Akayed Ullah. Already pro-ISIS channels are celebrating him as an “istishadi” attacker. pic.twitter.com/IkrO6kZm7E
— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) December 11, 2017
At the time of this writing, there has been no official statement about Ullah’s motives and no details officially released about what he said to the police.
Update: Reuters reports that Ullah “had a black cab/limousine driver’s license from 2012 to 2015, now expired.”
CNN has posted a clear photograph of Akayed Ullah:
— AnneClaire Stapleton (@AnneClaireCNN) December 11, 2017
A law enforcement source told CNN that Ullah stated “recent Israeli actions in Gaza” are the reason he carried out his attack.
ABC News states that Ullah “entered the U.S. on an F4 visa, a family-based visa.” According to the ABC report, Ullah described himself to the authorities as “self-inspired from ISIS online propaganda.”