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New York Port Authority explosion: Suspect charged with supporting terrorism

Updated: December 12, 2017

(CNN) -- The man who allegedly blew up his homemade explosive in a pedestrian subway tunnel in the heart of the Midtown Manhattan has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon, supporting an act of terrorism and making a terroristic threat, the New York Police Department announced Tuesday.

Investigators are piecing together what led up to the attack in which authorities say Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi man, detonated his device during the busy morning commute.

Here's what we know so far about the explosion and failed attack:

The location:

The blast detonated around 7:20 a.m. in an underground walkway connecting two subway lines beneath the Port Authority Bus Terminal, near Times Square, which accommodates 220,000 passenger trips a day.

The suspect was first spotted on a security camera as he began to climb the subway station stairs to 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.

He then switched to the A train at Jay St./MetroTech stop in Brooklyn before exiting the train at the Port Authority Bus Terminal stop in Manhattan, the same law enforcement official says.

On grainy surveillance footage, commuters are seen walking through a tunnel when a burst of smoke erupts into the hallway, quickly filling it. Commuters flinch and take cover. When the smoke clears, a man can be seen lying on the ground in the hallway.

The suspect:

The suspect has been named as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, a Bangladeshi who has been living in the US since 2011 on an F43 family immigrant visa, according to Department of Homeland Security spokesman Tyler Houlton. He is a lawful permanent resident who lives in Brooklyn and has no criminal record in the US, according to a preliminary background check.

He had pledged allegiance to ISIS, according to one law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the investigation, and said he acted in response to Israeli actions in Gaza.

Ullah recently carried out electrical work close to the Port Authority along with his brother, who lives in the same apartment building as the suspect, according to law enforcement.

He is currently hospitalized at Bellevue Hospital, where he is being treated for lacerations and burns to his hands and abdomen, New York City Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. He is said to be seriously injured.

From March 2012 to March 2015 Ullah held a Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) license, which had not been renewed, TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg said. It's unclear "whether he drove for any particular base, or whether he simply got the license but didn't drive at all," Fromberg said.

Ullah has no criminal record in his native Bangladesh, according to Sahely Ferdous, a Bangladesh police spokeswoman. Ferdous said Ullah last traveled to Bangladesh's capital Dhaka -- where he was born and raised -- in September, but police had no information on why he was there.

The bomb:

Ullah had at least two devices, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation tells CNN.

Only one detonated -- a foot-long pipe that contained black powder, a battery, wiring, nails and screws. It was attached to Ullah with Velcro and zip ties. Investigators did not elaborate on the second device.

The suspect made the bomb last week at his apartment in Brooklyn, according to an official. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it was an amateur, "effectively low-tech device."

The explosive chemical ignited, but the pipe itself did not explode, lessening its impact, Cuomo told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

"Fortunately for us, the bomb partially detonated," he said. "He did detonate it, but it did not fully have the effect that he was hoping for."

The victims:

Five people were treated for minor injuries in area hospitals.

"Mount Sinai Health System received and treated five patients with minor injuries as a result of the explosion today at Port Authority; four at Mount Sinai West and one at Mount Sinai Queens," a statement from the hospital group said.

"All were in stable condition and were release today. We are working closely with officials in law enforcement in the wake of this event."

The response:

Ullah was apprehended by Port Authority police officers shortly after the blast. Four of the officers involved in the apprehension and arrest of the suspect have been named as Sean Gallagher, Drew Preston, John Collins and Anthony Manfredini.

"Today, four courageous Port Authority police officers risked their lives confronting an armed terrorist to protect others from harm," Port Authority Police Benevolent Association President Paul Nunziato said in a statement.

"I am so thankful there was no loss of life and I could not be prouder of our Port Authority police officers, their actions and dedication to their sworn duty."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called the incident an "attempted terrorist attack," while Police Commissioner James O'Neill called it a "terror-related incident."

All subways and trains are running as scheduled, except the passageway where the incident occurred. Some exits and transfers may be blocked so passengers may be affected.

Gov. Cuomo praised the courage of the authorities, first responders and the city's residents.

"I am deeply grateful to the first responders and security personnel who kept people safe after today's attack and brought the suspect into custody," he said.

"Despite this morning's terrible incident, New Yorkers went about their lives unafraid, undeterred and more united than ever before. We will not allow this to disrupt us."

He added that he was directing the World Trade Center spire to be lit in red, white and blue "as a symbol of our essential values of freedom and democracy."

US President Donald Trump said Monday that an attempted terrorist attack in New York bolsters the need for his preferred immigration policies, which the White House says would have prevented the suspect from entering the country.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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Posted: December 11, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the explosion in Manhattan in an underground passageway (all times local):

9:45 a.m.

Police Commissioner James O'Neill says the device that exploded in the New York City subway was a terror-related incident.
A 27-year-old man had a crude pipe bomb strapped to him and it went off in a passageway from Seventh and Eighth Avenues near Times Square.
Three people suffered minor life-threatening injuries. The suspect was also injured and was taken into custody.
Mayor Bill de Blasio says the device that exploded in the New York City subway was an attempted terrorist attack. He says it's lucky the suspect didn't achieve his ultimate goals.
Law enforcement officials say he was inspired by the Islamic State, but had apparently not had any direct contact with the terror group.
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9:40 a.m.
A photo published by the New York Post from the scene of the Manhattan subway explosion shows a bearded man crumpled on the ground with his shirt apparently blown off and a police officer holding the man's hands behind his back.
Soot covers the man's bare midriff.
The Fire Department of New York says four people, including the suspect, have been hurt following the pipe bomb explosion at the height of the morning rush hour Monday.
None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.
A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that a man had a pipe bomb strapped to him when it went off. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the incident.
___
9:30 a.m.
The Fire Department of New York says four people, including the suspect, have been hurt following a pipe bomb explosion in a New York City subway at the height of the morning rush hour.
Fire officials say Monday none of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.
Police say the pipe bomb explosion inside the subway happened in an underground passageway between Seventh and Eighth Avenues on 42nd Street.
A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that a man had a pipe bomb strapped to him when it went off. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the incident.
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9:15 a.m.
Police say the pipe bomb explosion inside the New York City subway happened in an underground passageway between Seventh and Eighth Avenues on 42nd Street.
The explosion filled the passageway with smoke while it was crowded with throngs of Monday morning commuters.
A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that a man had a pipe bomb strapped to him when it went off. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the incident.
The person was arrested and has non-life-threatening injuries. Another person on the platform sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
The Port Authority Bus Terminal, the nation's largest bus hub, was shut down, along with the eight subway lines and all streets around Times Square.
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8:45 a.m.
A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that a man had a pipe bomb strapped to him when it went off on a New York City subway platform.
The explosion happened around 7:30 a.m. Monday. Details were still developing.
The person was arrested and has non-life-threatening injuries. Another person on the platform sustained non-life-threatening injuries
The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the incident.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has tweeted that President Trump has been briefed on the explosion.
___
8:40 a.m.
New Jersey Transit buses headed to the Port Authority Bus Terminal are diverting to other locations following an explosion in New York City.
NJ Transit says buses are taking passengers to Secaucus and Hoboken. From there, they can take trains or PATH into the city.
Trains, PATH, light rail and ferries are honoring bus tickets into New York.
The explosion happened around 7:30 a.m. Monday. Details were still developing.
Passengers were evacuated as a precaution from the subway line where the explosion happened, near 40th Street and Eighth Avenue.
A person was arrested and has non-life-threatening injuries.
___
8:25 a.m.
A law enforcement official says what is believed to be an explosive device has been set off on Manhattan subway platform.
The explosion happened around 7:30 a.m. Monday. Details were still developing.
A person was arrested and has non-life-threatening injuries.
There was no immediate word of any other injuries.
The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the incident.
Passengers were evacuated as a precaution from the subway line where the explosion happened, near 40th Street and Eighth Avenue.
___
8 a.m.
The New York Police Department says it is responding to a report of an explosion near Times Square.
The response is centered in the area of the Port Authority bus terminal.
It's led to delays along some of the subway lines that pass beneath the bus terminal.
Some passengers have been evacuated as a precaution.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
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NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) -- An explosion has been reported at the Port Authority train station in New York City.

Police said the type of explosion is unknown at this time and it was unknown if there were any injuries.

People reported seeing the bomb squad responding and posted images of the scene on social media.

New Yorkers were advised to avoid the area.

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