A failed terrorist attacker detonated a low-grade-home-made pipe bomb strapped to his body in the heart of Manhattan’s busiest subway corridor on Monday, sending thousands of terrified commuters fleeing the smoke-choked passageways, and bringing the heart of Midtown to a standstill.
The attack occurred in a long pedestrian walkway connecting the Eighth Avenue, Seventh Avenue and Broadway subway lines. Among the commuters traveling beneath Times Square was a man in a hooded sweatshirt. Then came a deafening boom — from him — and then smoke.
However, the makeshift weapon failed to fully detonate causing seriously injuries to the attacker himself alone in the attempted bomb blast that happened at about 7:20am yesterday.
Few minutes later, hundreds of police officers quickly converged on Times Square and the surrounding streets to assist commuters in the resulting commotion; law enforcement officials later said the attacker, identified by the police as Akayed Ullah, 27, chose the location because of its Christmas-themed posters, a motive that recalled strikes in Europe, and he told investigators that he set off his bomb in retaliation for United States airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and elsewhere.
It was the third attack in New York City since September 2016, and the second in two months, coming only weeks after eight people were killed in a truck attack along a Hudson River bike path. Like the earlier two, the attack on Monday appears to have been carried out by a so-called “lone-wolf” terrorist.
The explosion on Monday morning echoed through the subway tunnels just off Times Square and filled parts of the Port Authority Bus Terminal with smoke as commuters fled. Even as smoke still filled the chamber, Mr. Ullah was subdued by Port Authority police officers.
After he was subdued, Mr. Ullah was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center, where he was in serious condition with burns to his hands and abdomen, according to Daniel A. Nigro, the commissioner of the New York Fire Department. Three other people had minor injuries, he said.
An immigrant from Bangladesh, Mr. Ullah came to live in Brooklyn through a visa program available to people who have relatives who are United States citizens.
On Monday afternoon, President Trump attacked the current immigration system that allows for extended family members, and not just spouses or minor children, to receive green cards.
“The terrible harm that this flawed system inflicts on America’s security and economy has long been clear,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “I am determined to improve our immigration system to put our country and our people first.”