Feds: Bombing Suspect Plotted For Months, Inspired By Terrorist Leaders

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The man accused of planting bombs over the weekend in New York City and New Jersey planned his attacks for months and was motivated by an extremist Islamic ideology propagated by terrorist leaders like Osama bin Laden, federal authorities say.

A complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan documents the physical evidence showing how Ahmad Khan Rahami allegedly carried out the attacks and indicating why he did so. Rahami was charged Tuesday in federal court in both New York and New Jersey with using weapons of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use, in addition to other charges.

According to an affidavit from FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Special Agent Peter Frederick Licata, Rahami’s fingerprints were found on one of the improvised explosive devices that failed to detonate and surveillance video showed him walking down the Manhattan street where one of the bombs went off. A notebook found on Rahami’s person when he was arrested included pledges to commit jihad, according to the affidavit.

“Inshallah the sounds of the bombs will be heard in the streets. Gun shots to your police. Death To Your OPPRESSION,” one passage from the notebook read, as quoted in the complaint.

Rahami had already been charged by the prosecutor in Union County, New Jersey on five counts of attempted murder of law enforcement officers for engaging in a shootout with police when he was arrested Monday. He is currently recovering at University Hospital from gunshot wounds sustained during his arrest, where he has reportedly refused to answer questions from federal agents.

The complaint alleges that the notebook found with Rahami during his arrest refers to the “slaughter” of civilians during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and contains a plea to carry out a suicide attack before he is intercepted by law enforcement.

“My heart I pray to the beautiful wise ALLAH,” he wrote. “To not take JIHAD away from. I beg,” he allegedly wrote, according to the complaint.

The notebook also contains references to pipe bombs and pressure cookers, according to the complaint. Rahami allegedly praised the Muslim soldier who killed 13 people during a shooting spree at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas and “Brother Osama Bin Laden.” He also allegedly pledged to kill “the kuffar,” or unbelievers, in their “backyard.”

The complaint alleges that since June, Rahami used an eBay account under the name “ahmad rahimi” to purchase the items used to create the explosives, including ball bearings, electric igniters, and citric acid.

Licata, the JTTF agent, wrote that Rahami’s fingerprints were found on one pressure cooker found on 27th Street in Manhattan that did not go off, that his car entered and exited Manhattan on the night the bombs went off, and that video surveillance showed him walking by a site on 23rd Street before an explosive went off there, injuring 31 people.

The complaint also alleges that Rahami tested devices similar to the ones used in the explosions in the days leading up to the attacks. Cell phone video recovered by the FBI allegedly shows Rahami igniting an explosive device in his Elizabeth, New Jersey backyard, followed by “billowing smoke and laughter.” Rahami is then seen entering the frame to recover the device, according to the complaint.

Read the full complaint below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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