The man accused of detonating a home-made bomb in busy central New York posted an angry message to US President Donald Trump shortly before attempting the terror attack, a court has heard.
Bangladeshi-born Akayed Ullah, 27, faces federal and state terrorism charges after he allegedly detonated a device made of a battery, wires, metal screws and a Christmas tree lightbulb at a busy New York transit hub on Monday local time.
Five people were treated for injuries at nearby hospitals, while Ullah suffered burns and lacerations in the botched suicide bombing.
Federal prosecutors said Ullah posted “Trump, you failed to protect your nation” on his Facebook page shortly before attempting top detonate his explosive in an underground corridor of the subway system that connects Times Square to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
In an interview with investigators, Ullah admitted that he built and detonated the device, and said he was inspired to do so by Islamic State.
“I did it for the Islamic State,” Ullah admitted, according to federal documents tendered to court.
A US enforcement official told Reuters that officers found evidence that Ullah had watched IS propaganda on the internet.
US authorities said it appeared to be a rare if not unprecedented attempt at suicide bombing on US soil.
Ullah was apprehended by four Port Authority police officers shortly after the blast as he allegedly attempted to use his mobile phone.
Port Authority Police spokesman Bobby Egbert was quoted by CNN as saying the officers first encountered Ullah lying on the floor in the passageway and noticed him reach for a mobile phone.
He said that because of their training, they knew that a mobile phone can often be used as a detonator and treated the object as a secondary device.
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US President Donald Trump on Monday said the attack emphasised the need for US immigration reforms.
“America must fix its lax immigration system, which allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access our country,” he said in a statement.
The President also criticised the visa program that allowed Ullah to enter the US in 2011 because he had family members already in the country, saying such family visas are “incompatible with national security”.
Investigators in Bangladesh were questioning Ullah’s wife, Reuters reported citing two officials who declined to be identified.
They did not provide details on the questioning but said the couple have a six-month-old baby boy.
“We have found his wife and in-laws in Dhaka. We are interviewing them,” one of the police officials told Reuters.
Ullah married a Bangladeshi woman about two years ago and she lived in Dhaka, the cousin said, adding that he was educated in Bangladesh before he moved to the US.
Ullah lived with his mother, sister and two brothers in Brooklyn and was a green card holder, said Shameem Ahsan, consul-general of Bangladesh in New York.
– With agencies