Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old supporter of the Islamic State militant group faces federal charges in a subway bombing. The Bangladeshi man is accused of attempting to detonate a suicide bomb in New York City, according to CNN.
During a press conference, Joon H. Kim, the acting United States attorney in Manhattan, William F. Sweeney Jr., the head of the F.B.I.’s New York office, and Benjamin B. Tucker, the first deputy police commissioner announced the charges, according to the NY Times.
During the holiday season, Times Square in New York City is quite busy. In an attempt to “take as many innocent people as he could with him,” Ullah set off a pipe bomb explosion, according to a federal prosecutor in Manhattan.
The detonation of the bomb resulted in five people sustaining minor injuries. Ullah was the only person with serious injuries. He is currently undergoing treatment for lacerations and burns to his hand and abdomen at Bellevue hospital.
On Wednesday, he made his first court appearance via a transmitted video. During his appearance, the judge did not require him to enter a plea. However, U.S. District Judge Katherine Parker advised him of his rights. He acknowledged that he understood prosecutors filed a federal criminal complaint against him. Additionally, Parker requested a court-appointed defender for Ullah.
Normally, when federal charges are filed, the prosecutor already collected enough evidence against the defendant. In this case, Authorities said, “Ullah detonated the device made of a battery, wires, metals screws and a Christmas tree light bulb.” They added, “The suicide bomb was placed in an underground walkway connecting two subway lines beneath the Port Authority Bus terminal.”
Even though the explosive chemical ignited in the pipe bomb, the pipe itself did not explode, lessening its impact, stated Gov. Andrew Cuomo in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
Ullah faces five federal terrorism-related charges and three state terrorism-related charges, according to court documents.
The federal charges include providing material support to terrorists, and the use of a weapon of mass destruction. In addition, he faces charges of bombing a place of public use. Usually, when a defendant is facing state and federal charges, the federal charges will trump the states’ charges.
Why is this a terrorist attack?
The FBI definition of Domestic Terrorism: Perpetrated by individuals and/or groups inspired by or associated with primarily U.S.-based movements that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.
Per CNN, according to authorities, the explosion was an isolated attempted terrorist attack. In an interview with investigators, Ullah admitted that he built and detonated the device. He was inspired to do so by ISIS, he stated.
Additionally, a law enforcement official stated Ullah was prepared to die. The investigator added, “he acted in response to Israeli actions in Gaza.”
Also, on the day of the bombing, Ullah posted on Facebook, “Trump you failed to protect your nation.”
Motive and Evidence
Whenever authorities file a criminal complaint, they will begin to find a motive and collect evidence.
Furthermore, the prosecutor will include specific details of evidence collected and the motive for the crime. Especially if they have surveillance videos. In this situation, “The suspect was first spotted on a security camera as he began to climb the subway station stairs on the 18th Avenue F. train platform in Brooklyn at 6:25 a.m, according to one law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the investigation. The surveillance video may be admissible in court.
What Else Do We Know
The suspect wore an “improvised low-tech explosive device attached to his body. He intentionally detonated that device,” Police Commissioner James O’Neil.
Additionally, “The device was a pipe bomb affixed to his person with a combination of Velcro and zip ties, according to John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism for the city.
Investigators confirm the suspect had at least two devices and made the bomb last week at his apartment in Brooklyn.
Indeed, the prosecution built a solid case. Ultimately, it will be up to the criminal defense attorney to decide if a plea agreement will be accepted or if Ullah will go to trial.
Presently, Ullah was denied bail. He is in the custody of authorities. His next preliminary court hearing is on January 13, 2018. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of these charges.