In the wake of a series of bombings and attempted bombings in New York and New Jersey over the weekend, as well as a one-man stabbing spree that took place at a Minnesota shopping mall, FBI officials are downplaying the possibility that an active terrorist cell is operating in the region.
“[There is] no indication that there’s a cell operating,” William Sweeney, the assistant director in charge of the New York division of the FBI, said at a press conference Monday, according to Mother Jones.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump loosely associated the attacks in New York and New Jersey with ISIS in a statement published on his official campaign website.
“I am grateful for the quick action of law enforcement in capturing the terrorist responsible for Saturday’s bombings, and the off-duty police officer for stopping the terrorist in Minnesota. This weekend’s attacks, from Minnesota to Manhattan, are just the latest to be carried out on U.S. soil under President Obama. These should be a wake-up call for every American.
“Today, Hillary Clinton showed again that she will say anything – and blame anyone – to shift attention away from the weakness she showed as Secretary of State. The Obama-Clinton doctrine of not taking ISIS seriously enough has emboldened terrorists all over the world. They are hoping and praying that Hillary Clinton becomes President so that they can continue their savagery and murder.”
“The terrorist in Minnesota” refers to the man who went on the stabbing spree that injured 10 people in a St. Cloud, Minnesota, shopping mall Saturday. The suspect was shot to death by an off-duty police officer on the scene, the Star-Tribune reports.
The AMAQ news agency, which is affiliated with ISIS, took credit for that attack.
“The executor of the stabbing attacks in Minnesota yesterday was a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to the citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition,” AMAQ tweeted after the attack, according to the Star-Tribune.
The FBI has not ruled out that the Minnesota stabbings may have been a terrorist attack.
Two unrelated bombings took place over the weekend in New York and New Jersey, and additional undetonated explosive devices were found in nearby areas, Mother Jones reports.
“The first bombing took place in Seaside Park, New Jersey, on Saturday morning, when a pipe bomb exploded near the starting line of the ‘Semper Five’ 5K race supporting the Marine Corps. On Saturday night, a pressure cooker device exploded on 23rd Street in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, injuring 29 people. Police also discovered and removed a second bomb a few blocks away on 27th Street. Then, on Sunday night, two men reported finding a backpack with five pipe bombs in Elizabeth. Police attempted to disarm the devices using a bomb disposal robot but accidentally detonated one of the bombs. No one was injured in the explosion.”
Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, the primary suspect in the investigations into the bombings, was apprehended Monday in Linden, New Jersey, after after being shot during a shootout with police, according to a report from NBC News.
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) September 19, 2016
One officer was shot in the hand and another was shot in the abdomen but was wearing a bullet proof vest. Both officers are expected to fully recover from their injuries, NBC News reports.
A New Jersey prosecutor charged Rahami with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer Monday evening, according to NBC News. He was also charged with second-degree weapons offenses.
The attempted murder of a law enforcement officer charges carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison for each count, NBC News reports. Bail was set at $5.2 million.
In addition to stating there is no evidence to suggest that an active terrorist cell is active in the New York-New Jersey area, Sweeney also said the FBI has no clear outline of Rahami’s “path to radicalization,” according to the Mother Jones report.
Suspect in New York City bombing apprehended pic.twitter.com/PmNL2Gm6i8
— Times of India (@timesofindia) September 20, 2016
[Featured image via Stephanie Keith/Getty Images]