Shocking details have surfaced about the prime suspect in pipe bomb explosion beneath New York’s Times Square. Akayed Ullah, 27, is Bangladeshi migrant to the US and is a former limousine driver from Brooklyn. Police says that Ullah learned to build a bomb on the internet. Ullah belongs to the southeastern Bangladeshi district of Chittagong and last visited the country on 8 September. Also, he doesn’t have any criminal record in Bangladesh. As per officials, Ullah arrived in the US seven years ago on a family visa. From March 2012 through March 2015, he held a license to drive a limousine or black cab as an independent contractor, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission said in a statement. So far, the US authorities are treating the suspect as a self-radicalised ‘lone-wolf’ after entering the US, most likely by watching militant propaganda on the internet. However, the officials said that they were unaware of any specific militant video that might have led him to produce his faulty explosive device. Some US officials familiar with the investigation have said that no information is available which indicates that Ullah was previously known to any US spy or law enforcement agency for any connection to militant groups. However, that does not rule out the possibility some connection could be found, the officials said.
As per New York state governor Andrew Cuomo, the suspect is a “lone wolf” similar to the suspect in the most recent attack in New York, when an Uzbek immigrant driving a rented truck ran over people on a bicycle path on 31 October, killing eight. Cuomo added that both acted alone, inspired by jihadist groups such as Islamic State. “Both of them went on the web, downloaded information,” Cuomo said of the two suspects, adding that Ullah learned to make a bomb online. “They’re not people who come from overseas. They live here. They’re disgruntled,” said Cuomo, who went to the scene of the crime where he met with investigators.
After the incident, the New York police shut down an entire block of row houses in Windsor Terrace where the accused was beleived to be residing. The police have deployed a large show of force with at least one helicopter flying overhead. It was not clear if the neighbourhood was Ullah’s most recent address.
One neighbour said she had not seen him the suspect months, but described his home as quiet and observant in Islamic customs. She saw no evidence of extremism. “They’re really nice people. This is shocking,” said the neighbour, Arlene Jograj, a teacher who had greeted Ullah in passing. “We all know each other. We have block parties. I’ve been over there for dinner parties after Ramadan. We’re a really tight-knit street,” she said.