A powerful explosion in New York City last week injured multiple people on a busy Manhattan street.
Just eleven hours earlier, another bomb that was hidden inside a trash can exploded in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
The bomb was near where the Semper Five Marine Corps Charity 5K race was taking place. Luckily, the start of the race had been delayed, so there were no injuries associated with the blast.
Around 8:30 p.m. that Saturday night, an explosion in Manhattan sent twenty-nine people to the hospital, all with non-life-threatening injuries.
Several hours later, officials called the explosion an “intentional act”, but did not yet refer to it as a terrorist attack.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio stated, “There is no specific and credible threat to New York City from any terror organization”.
At that time, they also did not have any evidence that the bomb in Manhattan was related to the events in Seaside Heights that morning.
Shortly after, a pressure cooker with wires coming out of it, as well as a cellphone connected to it with duct tape, was discovered on Twenty-Seventh Street, four blocks away from where the original bomb exploded.
The next night, two men found a backpack outside of a restaurant in Elizabeth, New Jersey. They noticed wires protruding from it, and alerted the local police department.
The FBI took over the scene, and used two robots to determine the contents of the backpack.
The robots found that the backpack contained five explosives — one of which accidentally went off, but no one was injured.
That Monday morning, the FBI released a photo of twenty-eight-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, stating that he was wanted for questioning in connection with the New York bombing.
They described him as a United States citizen of Afghan descent who was believed to be seen in surveillance videos near the scene of the Manhattan explosion.
Two hours later, the FBI also said that Rahami was wanted in connection with the Seaside Heights bombing as well.
Around the same time, a restaurant owner found a man sleeping in the hallway of his bar in Linden, New Jersey. The police who responded realized it was Rahami.
After a “brief but intense manhunt,” according to NPR, law enforcement agencies apprehended Rahami, seeking to question him about the bombs.
He was captured after a shootout with police, which sent three officers to the hospital.
Following his arrest, Rahami has been charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. He was also charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
As all of the investigators gathered information, they learned there were “certain commonalities among the bombs… leading authorities to believe that there was a common group behind [them],” according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
As the days go on, government officials have been finding more reasons to believe that these bombings were, in fact, acts of terror, and the NYPD has heightened security across the city.
Cuomo stated that investigators have no reason to believe there are further threats, but the police should be on constant guard.
On Monday, President Obama made a statement calling on Americans to show the world their bravery and strength, declaring, “We will never give in to fear.”
“They don’t get scared,” Obama said of the citizens of New York and New Jersey. “That’s the kind of strength that makes me so proud to be an American. And, that’s the kind of strength that is going to be absolutely critical, not just in the days to come, but in the years to come.”
Photo Courtesy: Craig Ruttle