US authorities file terrorism charges on accused Times Square bomber

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Joon H. Kim, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announces federal charges against Akayed Ullah in connection with Monday's bombing at the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, in New York, U.S.(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

U.S. authorities have officially filed federal charges against the suspect in the attempted suicide bombing in New York City on Monday, Dec. 11. Prosecutors are accusing the suspect, Akayed Ullah, of supporting a foreign terrorist organization.

Ullah, a self-confessed supporter of the Islamic State, set off a homemade pipe bomb in an underground passageway that connects the Times Square subway station to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The explosion happened during the morning rush hour. It left the suspect with burns while three others sustained minor injuries.

Acting U.S. attorney Joon Kim, who filed the charges, told the media that the suspect tried to kill as many people as he can “in support of a vicious terrorist cause.”

Aside from the terrorism charges, the 27-year old Bangladeshi immigrant was also slapped with criminal charges for bombing a public place, destruction of property by means of explosive and use of a destructive device.

According to authorities, the improvised explosive was attached to the suspect’s body with Velcro and zip ties. He was walking east in the corridor when the bomb detonated.

Shortly after the explosion, Port Authority Police Department officers stationed near the scene responded to the commotion and apprehended the suspect, who was already on the ground after detonating the explosive.

“I did it for the Islamic State,” Ullah told police interviewers after the explosion.

The suspect had reportedly undergone self-radicalization in 2014 by viewing pro-Islamic State resources online. His suicide bombing attempt was a said to be the result of his anger toward the United States for its policies in the Middle East.

On the morning of the bombing, the suspect posted a very telling message on his Facebook account. “Trump you failed to protect your nation,” he wrote.

Ullah remains in the hospital after sustaining burns and badly injuring his arm and torso. He is expected to make his first appearance in the case next week. The federal charges of terrorism will take precedence over the criminal charges, and carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The incident comes less than two months after an Uzbek immigrant killed eight people by driving a speeding truck through a bike path in New York City. Responsibility for that attack was claimed by Islamic State.