NYC pipe bomber hit with federal terrorism charges; White House calls for reform

A man accused of attempting to set off a suicide bomb in midtown Manhattan Monday has been charged federally with weapons possession, supporting terrorism and making a terrorist threat.

Akayed Ullah, 27, who says he was acting on behalf of the Islamic State (ISIS), is in a New York hospital being treated for burns he suffered after his homemade pipe bomb detonated prematurely.  Three morning commuters were injured in the explosion.

According the the complaint, Ullah, born in Bangladesh, jerry-built an explosive device in his Brooklyn home one week prior to his attempt to carry out the attack.

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Authorities also say Ullah created the crude device with a nine-volt battery, Christmas lights, and screws with the intent of maximize damage.  Officials say the “low-grade” explosive device Ullah devised malfunctioned causing injury on his hands and abdomen.

Ullah, a former cab driver who was also working as an electrician, is believed to have acted alone and is thought to have been radicalized online.  Ullah’s family blasted law enforcement on Tuesday for its handling of the probe.

Responding to the attempted attack, the White House said Ullah’s actions highlighted the need for immigration reform, including an end to the chain migration and visa lottery programs.

“This attack underscores the need for Congress to work with the president on immigration reforms that enhance the national security and public safety. We must protect our borders and we must ensure that individuals entering our country are not coming to do harm to people, and we must move to a merit-based immigration system,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.

Ullah’s attempted attack follows a November incident in which eight New York residents were killed when Saifullah Saipov drove a rented pick-up truck on a bike path in lower Manhattan.

If convicted, Ullah could face life behind bars.

 

[Reuters] [Los Angeles Times] [New York Post] [The Hill] [Photo courtesy AP via Fox News]