Latest: Suspect 'taunted Donald Trump' on social media before New York subway attack

Update 5.15pm: A Bangladeshi immigrant arrested over a New York subway bombing blamed President Donald Trump for the botched suicide mission that he said he carried out for the Islamic State group, authorities said as they brought federal charges against him.

Akayed Ullah posted a statement on his Facebook account on his way to yesterday's attack stating: "Trump you failed to protect your nation", the criminal complaint said.

A Bangladeshi man reads a national newspaper that front pagesthe news of 27-year-old Bangladeshi man Akayed Ullah, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Pic: AP Photo/A.M. Ahad

He also told law enforcement officers at the hospital where he was taken with burn injuries to the body and hands: "I did it for the Islamic State", according to the complaint.

His rush-hour attack fizzled in a long walkway used by commuters moving between trains in the city's busiest subway station at Times Square.

Three pedestrians complained of harmed hearing and headaches after the bomb went off.

Ullah, 27, was expected to appear before a magistrate judge, though it was not immediately clear if he was well enough to go to court.

During a search of his Brooklyn apartment, investigators recovered a passport with the words "O America, die in rage" scrawled in it, the complaint said.

He hoped to "terrorise as many people as possible" with a bomb filled with metal screws that he believed would cause maximum damage, the complaint said.

The complaint charged Ullah with providing material support to a terrorist group, use of a weapon of mass destruction and three bomb-related counts.

According to the complaint, Ullah began researching how to build bomb after he had "viewed pro-Isis materials online, including a video instructing, in substance, that if supporters of Isis were unable to travel overseas to join Isis, they should carry out attacks in their homelands".

People walk past a building, on right, where 27-year-old Bangladeshi man Akayed Ullah, used to live in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Pic: AP Photo/A.M. Ahad

Overseas, Bangladesh counter-terrorism officers were questioning Ullah's wife and other relatives, officials there said today.

Relatives and police said Ullah last visited Bangladesh in September to see his wife and newborn son before leaving them behind to return the United States.

Hours after yesterday's explosion, Mr Trump cited the background of the bomber in renewing his call for closer scrutiny of foreigners who come to the country and less immigration based on family ties.

Ullah, who told investigators he wanted to retaliate for American action against Islamic State extremists, came to the US from Bangladesh in 2011 on a visa available to certain relatives of US citizens.

"Today's terror suspect entered our country through extended-family chain migration, which is incompatible with national security," Mr Trump said in a statement that called for various changes to the immigration system.

Earlier, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mr Trump's proposed policies "could have prevented this".

On his last visit to Bangladesh, the suspect mostly remained inside a small apartment in Dhaka's Hazribagh area, said his uncle, Abdul Ahad.

His nephew arrived in Bangladesh on September 8 and returned to New York on October 22, he said.

"He went out of his residence to offer prayers at a nearby mosque," Mr Ahad said.

In a scenario New York had dreaded for years, Ullah strapped on a crude pipe bomb with Velcro and cable ties, slipped unnoticed into the nation's busiest subway system and set off the device, authorities said.

The device did not work as intended; authorities said Ullah was the only person seriously wounded.

But the attack sent frightened commuters fleeing through a smoky passageway.

Ullah's low-tech bomb used explosive powder, a nine-volt battery, a Christmas light and matches, officials said.

Investigators said the suspect was seen on surveillance footage igniting the bomb.

In the end, it was not powerful enough to turn the pipe into deadly shrapnel, the officials said.

AP

Police at the scene of yesterday's explosion.

Update 2.50pm: The man accused of yesterday's New York subway bombing has been charged with supporting an act of terrorism, the city's police department has said.

The New York Police Department said on Twitter that Akayed Ullah also has been charged with making a terrorist threat and weapon possession.

Federal charges are expected later.

Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism and Intelligence John Miller said on CBS This Morning that Ullah was not on police or the FBI's radar before the Monday morning bomb in Times Square.

Bomb-sniffing dogs were part of the police presence as commuters resume their daily activities in the wake of the blast in a subway passageway.

The passageway connecting the Port Authority bus terminal and the Times Square subway station was back in use one day after the bomb exploded there.

Maintenance worker Jorge Garcia, who was taking the train out of Times Square on Tuesday, says he has got used to security concerns.

He says he was about three blocks away when the World Trade Centre came down.

Mr Garcia says he tries not to think about "the negative stuff" so he can "have a positive day".

AP

Update 7.40am: The family of a man accused of setting off a pipe bomb in a crowded New York City subway corridor have said they are heartbroken and deeply saddened by the suffering the attack has caused.

In a statement, Akayed Ullah's family also said they were outraged by the way it had been handled by law enforcement, which included pulling a teenage relative from class and questioning him without a parent, guardian or attorney present.

Akayed Ullah is accused of setting off a pipe bomb in a crowded New York City subway corridor.

The family said they expected more from the justice system in a statement released by Albert Fox Cahn, legal director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in New York.

Ullah, an immigrant from Bangladesh, was the only person seriously injured in the blast during the Monday morning rush hour that sent commuters scurrying in panic.

In a statement the government of Bangladesh condemned the attack, saying: "Bangladesh is committed to its declared policy of 'zero tolerance' against terrorism, and condemns terrorism and violent extremism in all forms or manifestations anywhere in the world, including Monday morning's incident in New York City."

Ullah, an immigrant from Bangladesh, was the only person seriously injured in the blast during the Monday morning rush hour that sent commuters scurrying in panic.

Police in Bangladesh said on Tuesday that they were not in a position to comment on the suspect.

US law enforcement officials earlier said the pipe bomb was ignited with a Christmas light, matches and a nine-volt battery.

The officials said the short pipe was packed with explosive powder, but did not work as intended and the blast was not powerful enough to turn the pipe into deadly shrapnel.

Law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation said Ullah had looked at Islamic State group propaganda online and told investigators he was retaliating against US military aggression.

The blast during the Monday morning rush hour injured three people besides Ullah, who was being treated at a hospital.

President Donald Trump said the blast in Manhattan highlighted the need for an immigration overhaul.

Mr Trump said that the US "must fix its lax immigration system, which allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people" into the country.

He pointed to his controversial travel ban as an example of the kind of policy that needs to be put in place.

And called on Congress to end "chain migration," in which family members are permitted to join relatives who have immigrated.

He also said people convicted of terror acts "deserve the strongest penalty allowed by law, including the death penalty in appropriate cases".

The only person seriously wounded Monday was the suspected bomber.


 

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