The suspect wanted in connection with bombings in New York City has been taken into custody after a firefight with police.
Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was arrested in New Jersey on Monday hours after he was publicly identified as the suspect in connection with explosives planted in New York City and New Jersey state.
A bomb went off on Saturday in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood, injuring 29 people. All of the wounded have since been released from the hospital.
“We have every reason to believe this was an act of terror,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said after the arrest.
Rahami – an Afghan immigrant who lives in Elizabeth, New Jersey – was taken into custody after firing on police officers, Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage said.
Two officers were shot in the encounter, but suffered non-life threatening injuries.
“Mr Rahami also sustained shots and an ambulance has taken him away,” Bollwage said. He underwent surgery on his wounds.
Officials said they had no indication there were more bombs or suspects to find, though they cautioned that they were continuing to work to understand Rahami’s connections.
FBI official William Sweeney Jr said in a news briefing “there is no indication that there’s a [terrorist] cell” in the area.
The suspect’s motive remains unclear, New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.
Derek Armstead – mayor of Linden, New Jersey, where Rahami was captured – said the owner of a bar found him sleeping in his hallway on Monday morning.
He told the AP news agency the man was initially presumed to be a vagrant, but police officers who responded quickly realised it was Rahami.
Armstead said the man pulled out a handgun and fired at the officers, hitting one in a bulletproof vest and grazing the other.
He then began firing as he ran down the street and police shot him in the leg. He was conscious when he was taken away in an ambulance.
A homeland security official told Reuters that five devices found in New Jersey early on Sunday were connected to Saturday’s blast in Manhattan. The five explosive devices were found in a backpack near a New Jersey train station.
One of the devices exploded early on Monday as authorities worked to disarm it.
“There are still a lot of unanswered questions: Number one, what are the motives for this? And was anyone else helping the plotter?” reported Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo in New York City.
|Police search for answers to New York explosion|