Immigrant charged in NYC 'terrorist' bombing that injured 5

By Susan McFarland  |  Updated Dec. 12, 2017 at 1:28 PM
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Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A former New York City cab driver was charged Tuesday for what police say was an unsuccessful terrorist strike at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan.

Akayed Ullah was charged with counts of weapons possession, supporting an act of terrorism and making a terroristic threat for the Monday morning attack.

Ullah, 27, could be arraigned on the charges as early as Tuesday.

Five people received minor injuries and Ullah was seriously burned when an explosive device detonated just after 7 a.m. Monday near the Port Authority terminal. The Bangladeshi immigrant will likely be arraigned while he's still recovering at New York City's Bellevue Hospital.

Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism and Intelligence John Miller said Ullah was not known to the New York City Police Department or FBI's before the attack.

Police say Ullah said he'd chosen the location near the Port Authority terminal because of a holiday poster in a nearby corridor. He was inspired by "[Islamic State]-style Christmas threats," and was angry about bombings in Islamic State-controlled territory in the Middle East.

Investigators said they learned that Ullah had read extremist writings and watched propaganda videos online, which is where he learned how to make bombs.

Monday's explosion was captured on video by a surveillance camera, which shows a quick flash followed by thick, white smoke.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called Monday's incident "a terrorist attack," but said there are no other known threats against the city.

The device used in the attack -- a low-level explosive worn by Ullah beneath his clothing and secured with Velcro and zip ties -- was a foot-long pipe that contained black powder, a battery, wiring, nails and screws, investigators said. Police said the pipe ignited but did not explode.

Authorities say Ullah emigrated to the Untied States in 2011 on an F42 family immigrant visa and is a lawful permanent resident. He worked for a time as a cab driver, but his New York license expired in early 2015.

Neighbors classified Ullah as an unfriendly person who kept to himself. A neighboring Brooklyn homeowner said his tenants had heard screaming and yelling coming from Ullah's home for a few nights before the attack, but did not call police.

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