Officials: Probe Of NY, NJ Bombings Points To Terror Cell

Bombings in New York and New Jersey on Sept. 17 and 18 have led authorities to suspect that there might be a terror cell involved.

A manhunt is under way for 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, reports CNN.

New York police identified Rahami as a suspect in the Sept. 18 bombing in New York's Chelsea neighborhood, which wounded 29 people. The same suspect was subsequently linked to two explosions in New Jersey: one in Elizabeth, and one in Seaside Park.

Officials believe Rahami was seen in surveillance videos with a suspicious duffel bag near the scene of the bombing in Chelsea.

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“I want to be very clear that this individual could be armed and dangerous,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on the morning of Sept. 19, reports The New York Times. “I would not be surprised if we did have a foreign connection to the act,” added Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in an interview with CNN the same morning.

Rahami was born on Jan. 23, 1988, in Afghanistan, and his most recent known address was in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

A law enforcement official, who spoke to The New York Times anonymously, provided the following details:

We don’t know his particular ideology or what his inspiration was or whether he was directed or whether he was inspired…. We have a lot to connect him to the Seaside Heights device, to the 27th Street device, to the 23rd Street device…. And in all likelihood the Elizabeth train station device -- which is a half-mile from his residence. So, the ideology, the connection to international terrorism, we might flesh that out as we go through the results of search warrants, looking for computers, discs, things like this. Search warrants that we did Sunday night at the residence in Elizabeth.

Elizabeth mayor J. Christian Bollwage, speaking at a news conference early Sept. 19, said Rahami’s family had previous issues with the city regarding their family restaurant, First American Fried Chicken.

The 24-hour restaurant had received noise and disrupting the peace complaints. In turn, the family sued the mayor, the City Council, and various police officers, claiming racial discrimination.

Sources: CNN, The New York Times / Photo credit: New York Police Department via CNN

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