- Suspected bomber named as Akayed Ullah, 27-year-old Bangladeshi national
- Device exploded on an underpass connected to the Port Authority Bus terminal near Times Square
- Five people, including the suspect, have been injured but none of the injuries are life-threatening
- The transit hub, one of the busiest in the US, has now reopened
- Suspect was reportedly inspired by Isil Christmas attacks
A man with a pipe bomb strapped to his body set off an explosion at one of New York’s busiest commuter hubs, leaving five people injured in an Isil-inspired attack.
Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi national who is thought to have lived in the US since 2011, triggered a stampede during the morning rush hour as his homemade bomb detonated in a busy underpass.
He was pictured moments after the apparent attempted suicide attack crumpled in a heap with severe burns and lacerations to his torso and was later taken to hospital and placed under arrest.
Ullah reportedly told investigators that he was avenging attacks on the Islamic State group and chose the location by its Christmas posters.
The 27-year-old recalled a Christmas attack in Europe in 2016 and said he was also retaliating for US airstrikes on IS in Syria, law enforcement officials told the New York Times.
The mention of Christmas as a motive drew comparisons to Europe, where an Isil-inspired attacker plowed a truck into a Berlin Christmas market last year, killing 12 people.
Mr. Ullah had attached the pipe bomb to himself with a “combination of Velcro and zip ties,” said James P. O’Neill, the commissioner of the New York Police Department.
CCTV footage shows the bomber walking down a tunnel armed with a five-inch metal pipe bomb and battery pack strapped to his body before a flash of smoke fills the walkway.
The bomb, described by authorities as a low-tech device, exploded inside a passageway leading to three train lines at and the Port Authority Bus Terminal near Times Square, one of the nation’s busiest bus station.
“There was a stampede up the stairs to get out,” said Diego Fernandez, one of the commuters at Port Authority. “Everybody was scared and running and shouting.”
Alicja Wlodkowski, a Pennsylvania resident in New York for the day, was sitting in a restaurant in the bus terminal building at the time.
“Suddenly, I saw a group of people, like six people, running. A woman fell.
No one even went to stop and help her because the panic was so scary.”
Sources close to the investigation said Ullah first arrived in the country from Bangladesh on an F-4 visa, available to those with family in the US, around seven years ago.
Several hours after the attack, Donald Trump released a statement saying the explosion showed the need for immigration reform, including ending what is known as "chain migration" within families.
Mr Trump's administration has called for a "merit-based" immigration system that would limit family-based green cards to spouses and minor children.
"America must fix its lax immigration system, which allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access our country," he said.
"Today’s terror suspect entered our country through extended-family chain migration, which is incompatible with national security."
He added: "Those convicted of engaging in acts of terror deserve the strongest penalty allowed by law, including the death penalty in appropriate cases."
Bangladesh is not one of the countries covered in Mr Trump’s travel ban of six predominantly Muslim countries.
On Monday night officers were searching an address linked to to Ullah in the Flatbush neighbourhood of Brooklyn.
He is thought to have made the bomb in the home he shared with his father, mother and brother in a residential area of Brooklyn with a large Bangladeshi community.
Investigators were searching Ullah’s apartment, interviewing witnesses and relatives, and looking for surveillance footage that may show his movements in the moments before the attack.
A statement on behalf of the family sent by the New York Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said they were "deeply saddened" by the attack but also "outraged by the way we have been targeted by law enforcement, including a teenage relative of the suspect who was pulled from class and questioned in his school without a parent guardian or attorney."
With Ullah striking at rush hour just two weeks before Christmas, it seemed that commuters and shoppers’ worst fears had been confirmed.
But as reports surfaced that the device had prematurely exploded in the right side of the bomber’s jacket, it was clear a far greater tragedy had been narrowly avoided.
The city’s response was typically pragmatic. “Let’s go back to work,” Governor Andrew Cuomo told New Yorkers. “We’re not going to allow them to disrupt us.”
“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,” he added.
Just hours later, the Port Authority station had reopened and New Yorkers were going about their daily routines.
The only serious injuries were to the attacker himself but four other people, including a police officer, suffered minor injuries.
The suspect, photographed lying face down, with tattered clothes and burns on his exposed torso, has been co-operating with police as he is treated at New York’s Bellevue Hospital.
Officials said Ullah was inspired by the Islamic State terrorist group but learned how to make the bomb online and did not have any direct contact with the group.
“We have no evidence at this time that there were any secondary devices or it was part of a larger plan,” Mr Cuomo said.
He had been licensed to drive a livery cab between 2012 and 2015, according to law enforcement officials and NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Bangladesh's government condemned the attack.
"Bangladesh is committed to its declared policy of 'Zero Tolerance' against terrorism, and condemns terrorism and violent extremism in all forms or manifestations anywhere in the world, including Monday morning's incident in New York City," the government statement said in a statement.
The terrorist attack occurred less than two months after an Uzbek immigrant killed eight people by speeding a rental truck down a New York City bike path, in an attack for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.
In light of the attack cities across the US said they were ramping up the security around major transportation hubs.
Suspect had no criminal record
Several US officials familiar with the investigation have told news sources that at this point there was no information indicating Ullah was previously known to any American spy or law enforcement agency for any connection to militants or terrorism.
An authoritative government source confirmed that Ullah arrived in the US seven years ago on a visa for applicants with family members already in the country.
Ullah is from the Bangladeshi city of Chittagong and is a US resident, the country's police chief. He had no criminal record there and last visited Bangladesh on September 8, the chief said.
Mr Trump's spokeswoman Sarah Sanders argued that the attack could have been prevented by tighter immigration rules.
"The president's policy has called for an end to chain migration, and if that had been in place that would have prevented this individual from coming to the United States," she told the daily White House briefing.
"So the president will aggressively continue to push forth responsible immigration reform."
Attacker learnt how to make bomb online - New York Governor
The weapon was a pipe bomb that was attached to the suspect, police said. New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo told CNN the explosive in the pipe ignited, but the pipe itself did not explode.
"So he wound up hurting himself, several others in the vicinity." He said the attacker obtained information on how to make a bomb from the internet.
Attacker was 'motivated by Israel'
A pro-Islamic State media group, Maqdisi Media, portrayed the attempted terror attack as a response to US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week, according to the SITE Intelligence Group which tracks and analyses online activity by extremist groups.
However, US network CNN reported that Ullah told investigators he was motivated by recent Israeli actions in Gaza. Over the weekend, Israeli authorities said they had destroyed a tunnel between Gaza and Israel - a blow to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group which controls the Gaza strip.
Intelligence agencies investigating suspect
A thorough background investigation into Akayed Ullah is being conducted by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Commissioner O'Neill said.
Footage shows moment of attack
Live from the scene
The explosion took place opposite a corner shop owned by a Bangladeshi Muslim man, Harriet Alexander reports from the scene.
"The people who do this have no religion," he said. "They are just savages." He only learnt of the incident when customers came in and told him - he heard no explosion. "It's sad, but it happens all over the world. In my country, in your country, here. That mosque attack in Egypt? Terrible, too. "It's a fact of life now."
Suspect had pipe bomb strapped to him, officials confirm
The device was a pipe bomb fixed to the bomber with hook and loop fastens and zip ties, officials said in a press conference.
Bomber named as Akayed Ullah
Akayed Ullah is the 27-year-old suspect, New York Police said. The suspect was placed in custody and transferred to Bellevue hospital.
"We are asking anyone with information about this individual to come forward," Police Commissioner James O'Neill said.
The individual who carried the device had burns and lacerations to his hands and abdomen.
Bill De Blasio: 'Our enemies want to undermine our multi-cultural society'
There are no additional known incidents at this time, no additional activities, said New York Mayor Bill De Blasio.
The Mayor told a press conference that the incident, which happened at the start of the city's rush hour, was "an attempted terrorist attack."
"All we know is there was one individual who, thank God, was unsuccessful in his attempt," he said.
Mr De Blasio added a fuller investigation would follow.
"As New Yorkers our lives revolve around the subways. When we hear of an attack in the subways it is incredibly unsettling," de Blasio said.
Governor: 'This is New York - let's go back to work'
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has praised the emergency services for their response. "Everyone worked together. There was an explosion, it was an effectively low-tech device. There were several minor injuries and it was handled extremely well."
All bus services are being restored now, Mr Cuomo said.
"This is one of our worst nightmares. This is New York. We are a target by many who would like to make a statement against freedom...That makes us an international target, we understand that," he said.
"Anyone can go onto the internet. The counter reality is this is New York and we keep our eyes open and we have the best law enforcement in the world. We will go forward together, let's go back to work. We are not going to allow them to disrupt us."
Dollar weakened in reaction to attack
News of the incident jarred financial markets as trading was getting underway for the week. Standard & Poor's 500 index emini futures pared gains, the dollar weakened against the yen and US Treasury securities prices gained on a modest flight-to-safety bid.
Huge police presence
Harriet Alexander is at the scene. She writes:
New York’s police department has shut the normally chaotic 8th Avenue from Penn Station north, for around 10 blocks. Large blacked-out 4x4s are streaming in, sirens blaring, with senior NYPD officials arriving on the scene. There is a huge police presence at the Port Authority terminal itself, with heavily-armed police at the door and NYPD officers yelling at the curious onlookers not to stand in the road and take photos on their phones, blocking the influx of police cars. The explosion was in the middle of rush hour, and yet many caught up in it seemed unaware, asking instead why they had been asked to get off the subway.
Bomber is 27-year-old man
The suspected bomber is a 27-year-old man, according to the former NY police commissioner Bill Bratton.
Male suspect had explosives 'strapped on' body
The male suspect had explosives strapped on when they exploded, law enforcement official told AP.
Donald Trump briefed on attack
The US President has been briefed on the explosion in New York, the White House said.
Just one person injured, in addition to the suspected bomber
Just one person has been injured in addition to the suspected bomber, CNN reported. The bomb went off prematurely and had been intended to cause far greater damage.
Bomb found on subway
The bomb was reportedly found on a busy subway leading to three train lines, which suggests it was intended to be detonated in a train carriage.
'Isil-inspired attack' - Bill Bratton
Former NY police commissioner Bill Bratton has claimed the attack was inspired by Isil.