US prosecutors on Tuesday brought federal charges against the suspect in Monday’s attempted suicide bombing in one of New York City’s busiest commuter hubs, accusing him of supporting a foreign terrorist organization.
Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi and self-described supporter of the radical group Islamic State, was also charged in a criminal complaint filed in US district court in Manhattan with bombing a public place, destruction of property by means of explosive and use of a destructive device.
Ullah planned to “murder as many human beings as he could in support of a vicious terrorist cause,” acting US attorney Joon Kim told a news conference after filing thecharges.
New York City police have said that Ullah set off a pipebomb in an underground corridor of the subway system that connects Times Square to the Port Authority Bus Terminal at rushhour on Monday morning, injuring himself and three others.
He told police interviewers after the blast, “I did it for the Islamic State,” according to court papers filed by federal prosecutors.
Ullah began the process of self-radicalization in 2014 when he started viewing pro-Islamic State materials online andcarried out his attack because he was angry over U.S. policiesin the Middle East, prosecutors said.
New York officials on Tuesday also filed state charges against Ullah, as investigators in his home country questioned his wife.
Ullah was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, supporting an act of terrorism and making a terroristic threat under New York state law, the New York City Police Department said.
The federal charges, which are expected to take precedence over the state charges, carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Officials declined to disclose Ullah’s condition at Bellevue Hospital late on Tuesday. His first court appearance in the case could come as soon as Wednesday and may be conducted by video conference with a judge, a spokesperson for the US Attorney’soffice said.
On the morning of the attack, Ullah posted on his Facebookpage, “Trump you failed to protect your nation.”
Ullah’s passport, which was recovered from his home, had handwritten notes, including one that read, “O AMERICA, DIE IN YOUR RAGE.”
Investigators at the scene found a nine-volt battery insideUllah’s pants pocket, as well as fragments from a metal pipe andthe remnants of what appeared to be a Christmas tree light bulbattached to wires.
Ullah told investigators that he built the bomb at hisBrooklyn home one week before the attack, filling the pipe withmetal screws to maximize damage. He chose a workday to target asmany people as possible.
Investigators in Bangladesh were questioning Ullah’s wife,according to two officials who declined to be identified as theywere not permitted to publicly discuss the matter. They said thecouple have a six-month-old boy.