'Bangladeshi' held after blast at New York bus terminal
A Bangladeshi man with a homemade bomb strapped to his body set off an explosion at a New York commuter hub during rush hour yesterday, wounding himself and three others in what New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called an attempted terrorist attack.
The suspect in the incident at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, a block from Times Square, was identified as Akayed Ullah, the New York Police Department commissioner said. The suspect had burns and lacerations while three other people, including a police officer, sustained minor injuries, according to a report by Reuters.
Ullah is from Chittagong and is a US resident, said the country's police chief. He had no criminal record there and last visited Bangladesh on September 8, the chief said.
Ullah had a black cab/limousine driver's license from 2012 to 2015, after which it expired, the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission said.
The weapon was based on a pipe bomb and attached to the suspect, police said. New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaking at a news conference near the site, described the device as "amateur-level."
De Blasio told the same news conference that the incident, which happened at the start of the city's rush hour, was "an attempted terrorist attack."
New York City was a target, said John Miller, deputy police commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism.
"When you hear about a bomb in the subway station, which is in many ways one of our worst nightmares, the reality turns out better than the initial expectation and fear," Cuomo told reporters. Later on CNN, he said the attacker apparently used the internet to obtain information on how to make a bomb.
WABC reported the suspect was in his 20s and that he has been in the United States for seven years and has an address in New York's Brooklyn borough. Police shut down the entire block and there was a heavy police presence outside the home.
First reports of the incident began soon after 7 am (1200 GMT). New York in December sees a surge of visitors who come to see elaborate store displays, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and Broadway shows.
The bus terminal is the busiest in the United States, according to the Port Authority. On a typical weekday, about 220,000 passengers arrive or depart on more than 7,000 buses.
More than 200,000 people use the Times Square station, the city's busiest, each weekday, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The bus terminal is connected to different sections of the sprawling Times Square subway station - which serves 10 train lines - through a long, narrow below-ground tunnel that carries thousands of commuters during rush hour. Buskers and other entertainers at entrances to the tunnel often draw crowds.
Talking to The Daily Star, Shamim Ahsan, Consul General at Bangladesh Consulate in New York, said that they came to know from the media that the suspect was a Bangladeshi. He was in touch with the authorities and was awaiting confirmation of the attacker's identity.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington after the terror incident, reiterated the country's commitment to zero tolerance against terrorism.