Explosive Devices in Chelsea and New Jersey all Point to the Same Suspect

by Mark Sumner –

TOPSHOT - A fire truck is seen near a blocked off road near the site of an alleged bomb explosion on West 23rd Street on September 17, 2016, in New York. An explosion in New York's upscale and bustling Chelsea neighborhood injured at least 25 people, none of them in a life-threatening condition, late Saturday, the fire department said. / AFP PHOTO / Bryan R. SmithBRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images

An explosion occurred Saturday night in the Chelsea neighborhood on the West Side of Manhattan in New York City. Officials listed 29 people as having been injured by the explosion. All those injured were treated and released within a few hours, with all in good condition. The explosion came only hours after the explosion of pipe bombs in New Jersey along the course of a Marine Corps charity run. No one was injured in that incident.

The type of device used in Chelsea was a “pressure cooker bomb,” similar to the construction of the two devices that exploded at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. Within hours of the explosion, police located a second device in Manhattan and removed it with no explosion. In New Jersey, additional pipe bombs were also found and removed.

By looking at makeup of the Chelsea devices—which contained a cell-phone for setting off the explosion as well as material meant to create shrapnel, investigators were quickly able to identify the type of explosive it contained as Tannerite. This is a “low explosive,” like black powder used in old-fashioned weapons. Tannerite is sometimes mixed into targets, so that when the target is hit by a high velocity bullet, it produces a small explosion. However, like black power, it’s possible to prepare Tannerite as a primary explosive.

Sunday night, additional pipe bombs were found in a backpack outside a restaurant in Elizabeth, New Jersey. One of the devices exploded as the bomb squad was using a robot to disarm the contents, but no one was injured.

The construction of these devices indicates that they were were likely made by the same person or group of persons. Police are seeking Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old naturalized citizen from Afghanistan.

“I want to be very clear that this individual could be armed and dangerous,” Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York said on Monday morning. “Anyone seeing him should call 911 immediately.” …

Late on Sunday night, the police stopped a car on the Belt Parkway near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and questioned five people who were connected to Mr. Rahami.

While the idea that the incidents in New York and New Jersey were inspired by international terrorism may be disturbing, it doesn’t make the devices any more dangerous or the injuries any more severe. And if all the incidents really did originate with one person, or a small group of people, then the police and FBI seem well on their way ending this threat.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos