A radical Islamic terrorist with a pipe bomb strapped to him set off the crude device in the subway near Times Square on Monday, injuring the suspect and three other people at the height of New York City’s morning rush hour.
The attacker has been identified as 27-year-olld Akayed Ullah, an ISIS-inspired Bangladeshi national living in Brooklyn. According to Fox News, Ullah told the police he assembled the bomb at his work. The suspect was the only person seriously injured in the attack. Three others were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries and are expected to be fine.
The explosion happened in an underground passageway under 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. The 7:30 a.m. blast caused smoke to fill the passageway, which was crowded with throngs of Monday morning commuters.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill labeled it an attempted terror attack.
“Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals,” de Blasio said.
Law enforcement officials said the attack was inspired by the Islamic State group but had apparently not had any direct contact with the group.
Authorities said the bomb was a low-tech explosive device attached to the man with Velcro and plastic ties that went off prematurely.
A photo published by The New York Post showed a bearded man crumpled on the ground with his shirt apparently blown off and black soot covering his bare midriff. A police officer is holding the man’s hands behind his back.
The explosion triggered a massive emergency response by police and firefighters both above and below ground, tangling subway and bus service at the nearby Port Authority bus terminal.
Fire officials said the suspect had burns to his hands and abodmen. The others who were injured suffered ringing in ears and headaches.
Elrana Peralta, a customer service worker for Greyhound, said she works in the Port Authority terminal complex near where the blast happened, but didn’t hear the explosion.
“All we could hear was the chaos,” she said. “We could hear people yelling, ‘Get out! Get out! Get out!’”
John Miles, 28, from Vermont, was waiting for a bus to Massachusetts. He also didn’t hear the blast, but saw police react.
“I didn’t know what was going on. Officers were running around. I was freaking out,” he said. There was an announcement that people should take their bags and leave. “They didn’t incite panic. It was fairly orderly.”
Everything around the Port Authority area was shut down — a surreal scene of still at what would ordinarily be a bustling rush hour.
New Jersey Transit buses headed to the Port Authority were diverting to other locations. NJ Transit said buses were taking passengers to Secaucus and Hoboken, where they could take trains into the city.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that President Donald Trump had been briefed on the explosion.
The Associated Press contributed to this article