Security preparations for New Year’s Eve celebrations in New York’s Times Square will be altered following a botched suicide bombing in a subway tunnel, the city’s counterterrorism chief has said. Akayed Ullah, 27, has ben charged with terrorism crimes after detonating a pipe bomb in the pedestrian tunnel on Monday. John Miller, deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, said the New York Police Department will carry out an “immediate” and “in-depth” review of the attempted attack. He said: “This is the first time I believe that we have seen an individual with a suicide bomb in mass transit and actually have that bomb function.
“So we’re going to take a hard look at it.”
Image: Attack suspect Akayed Ullah
Plans for security in the New Year will also consider other attacks such as the Las Vegas sniper shooting on 1 October, in which 58 people were killed and more than 500 people wounded, Mr Miller said. An increased police presence will be seen around mass transit and public gatherings, he added. In the short term, that will likely mean more heavily armed and specially trained officers on the streets, as well as more police dogs, bag screenings and checkpoints. Chemicals inside the pipe bomb ignited, but the pipe itself did not explode, officials have said.
Ullah, from Bangladesh, was seriously hurt in the blast during Monday morning rush hour . But the malfunctioning device resulted in only minor injuries for three other people. Acting US attorney Joon Kim said Ullah planned to “murder as many human beings as he could.. . in support of a vicious terrorist cause”. Court papers filed by federal prosecutors claim he told police officers after the blast that “I did it for Islamic State”. He is believed to have begun viewing pro IS material online in 2014 and prosecutors claim he carried out the attack because he was angry over US policy in the Middle East. On the morning of the attack, he posted on his Facebook page1 “Trump you failed to protect your nation”.
He has been charged with providing material support to terrorists and using weapons of mass destruction. Ullah could appear in court on Wednesday via video link.
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Investigators in Bangladesh are questioning his wife, officials told Reuters news agency . The couple have a six-month-old boy.
President Donald Trump claimed the bombing underlined a need for changes to the US imigration system, which he clamed is “lax” and “allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people” into the US.
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