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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Sunday, January 21, 2018

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Explosion rattles NYC’s busiest transit hub, suspect nabbed

Times Square and Port Authority subway stations

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NEW YORK, U.S. - An explosion rattled one of the busiest transit hubs in New York City on Monday morning, forcing authorities to evacuate hundreds of commuters and causing chaos.

In the incident, authorities said that the explosion was reported in Manhattan - during which a low-tech device was detonated in the New York City subway.

According to the Police Department, the blast echoed through the passageway connecting the Times Square and Port Authority subway stations shortly before 7:30 a.m.

The police then evacuated the subway stations and shut down the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Commutes of New Yorkers miles away from the blast too became chaotic, with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority reporting that 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, N, Q, R, W and 7 trains were skipping 42nd Street.

Further, police officials said that commuters underground near 40th Street and 8th Avenue began to flee after the loud, muffled sound was heard in the Port Authority subway station - leading to more chaos.

However, police officers, firefighters and Port Authority counterterrorism officials together tried to clear people from the bus station and the west side of 8th Avenue as sirens blared.

Soon after, a senior city official reveled that they had nabbed one man, believed to have been the suspect. 

The man, who was reportedly partially stripped by the police, was wearing an explosive device.

City officials also revealed that the suspect had been acting alone, and the device was reported to have gone off prematurely.

 The explosion was recorded on surveillance video and will be used in the investigations that have been launched.

The suspect is now in a serious condition and has been taken to the Bellevue Hospital.

According to the Fire Department, four other injuries had been reported in the incident.

Addressing a news conference on Monday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called the blast an “attempted terrorist attack.”

Confirming that no other devices had been found, the Mayor said, “Our lives revolve around the subway. The choice of New York is always for a reason, because we are beacons of the world. And we show that a society of many background and many faiths can work.”

He added, “The terrorists want to undermine that. They yearn to attack New York City.”

During the morning press conference, the suspect was identified as Akayed Ullah, who was said to have sustained burns and wounds to his body.

Official said that the suspect had some sort of pipe bomb or other type of improvised explosive device that either went off prematurely or only partially detonated.

Former New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton, who served two terms as the NYPD commissioner, revealed that based on preliminary information from his police sources, the suspect is in his mid-20s, is possibly from Bangladesh and “was supposedly setting the device off in the name of ISIS.” 

Bratton told reporters, “So, definitely a terrorist attack. Definitely intended. As to whether the device malfunctioned or didn’t function correctly, that will have to be determined.”

Bratton added that the explosion took place in one of the passageways at the Port Authority subway station.

He added that New Yorkers should expect to see increased police presence at all transportation hubs around the city immediately.

He also warned that a previous bombing in September last year left 29 people injured in the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan.

Adding, “The pace is quickening, as we have been indicating that it would. New York continues to remain the focus of interest. … That is something that we can anticipate. These attacks are going to increase. That’s the reality.”

The terror incident on Monday came just weeks after a man driving a truck plowed through pedestrians and bicyclists on a path along the west side of Manhattan, killing eight people and wounding a dozen others. 

On Monday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that President Donald Trump was briefed on the incident.

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