Accused Manhattan bomber faces arraignment Wednesday

By Susan McFarland  |  Dec. 13, 2017 at 7:33 AM
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Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The 27-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant accused in the attempted suicide bombing in Manhattan this week is set to be arraigned on terror charges Wednesday.

Akayed Ullah, charged with five federal terrorism counts, is still recovering at New York City's Bellevue Hospital and may appear for his arraignment through a video link, authorities said. Charges against Ullah include use of a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use.

The suspect was seriously burned and five bystanders received minor injuries and when an explosive device he wore detonated Monday morning near the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan.

Court documents state that Ullah carried a 9-volt battery inside his pants pocket with wires connected to a metal pipe. One component connected to the wires was a Christmas light bulb, something authorities say is often featured in instructions online for making a pipe bomb.

Authorities said the device was built last week at Ullah's Brooklyn home, and that he'd stored materials like metal screws for shrapnel. Investigators said Ullah chose the location near the Port Authority terminal because of a holiday poster in a nearby corridor.

Police said Ullah had also been inspired by the Islamic State terror group and was angry about U.S.-led bombings of IS territory in the Middle East.

Authorities said Ullah mentioned President Donald Trump in a Facebook post on the morning of the attack, which read, "Trump you failed to protect your nation." A police search at Ullah's home found the passage, "O AMERICA, DIE IN YOUR RAGE," written in his passport, NBC New York reported.

A news outlet in Bangladesh spoke with Ullah's wife who said she'd called to wake him at 5 a.m. Monday -- and that during a visit to Bangladesh in September, he'd asked her to read sermons by a radical Muslim preacher.

Authorities said they have so far failed to find any links between Ullah and local radical groups.

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