By Alex Dobuzinskis
Sept 19 – Authorities investigating the New York explosion case were searching on Monday for a 28-year-old New Jersey man who may be armed and dangerous, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The New York Police Department released a photo of Ahmad Khan Rahami, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Afghan descent who was wanted for questioning in the Saturday night explosion in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, de Blasio said on CNN.
Federal authorities now believe the weekend explosion that injured 29 people in Chelsea, where another explosive device was found nearby, was linked to as many as six explosive devices found in Elizabeth, Homeland Security officials told Reuters.
The explosions came days before world leaders prepared to gather at the United Nations in New York for the annual General Assembly.
“We’re going to have more security personnel than ever assembled over this next week during the UN General Assembly,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on CNN.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in television interviews that President Barack Obama, who is already in New York, was being briefed on the case.
Cuomo acknowledged there might be an international connection in the case.
“The evidence might suggest a foreign connection,” Cuomo said in television interviews on Monday morning.
Investigators believe there are more people involved in the New York and New Jersey bombing plots than just Rahami, but they do not have a good idea who those people are, two U.S. officials told Reuters.
An Federal Bureau of Investigation poster says Rahami was a resident of Elizabeth, New Jersey, where agents were executing a search warrant on Monday morning after explosive devices were found at a train station in that city, Mayor Christian Bollwage told CNN.
Warning that Rahami could be armed, De Blasio urged residents to be vigilant and report sightings to authorities.
Cuomo said that, while the bombs discovered in Manhattan and New Jersey were not identical, there were “certain commonalities” among the chemicals and technologies used.
The raid in Elizabeth came hours after an explosive device left near a train station there blew up when a bomb squad robot cut a wire on the mechanism, one of as many as five potential bombs found at the site, the mayor said.
No one was injured in the blast from the device, which had been left in a backpack placed in a trash can near the station and a bar, Bollwage told reporters earlier.
As many as five potential explosive devices tumbled out of the backpack when it was emptied, Bollwage said. After cordoning off the area, a bomb squad used a robot to cut a wire to try to disable the device but inadvertently set off an explosion, he said.
The Chelsea blast followed a pipe bomb explosion on Saturday morning along the route of a running race in the New Jersey beach town of Seaside Park. No one was injured in that blast.