The man accused of a leaving a string of bombs in two states — including one that exploded in Manhattan and injured 31 people — was charged Tuesday in both New York and New Jersey with federal counts of using weapons of mass destruction.
Ahmad Rahami is also believed to have carried out an apparent attempted bombing in Seaside Park, New Jersey, and to have left a bomb inside a backpack at a train station in Elizabeth, also in New Jersey.
No one was hurt in the New Jersey incidents. Rahami, 28, was captured on Monday after being wounded in a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey, that left two officers wounded.
Rahami on Monday was already charged by the Union County, New Jersey, prosecutor with five counts of attempted murder of police officers.
The federal criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of New York Tuesday shows that Rahami allegedly left his fingerprints all over an unexploded pressure cooker bomb that was found four blocks away from the blast in the Chelsea district of Manhattan.
Investigators found 12 latent prints in all on the unexploded bomb, along with duct tape and a cell phone triggering device, which was later traced them to Rahami, according to the complaint.
In New York Rahami is charged with bombing a place of public use, destruction of property by means of fire or explosive and use of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, in addition to the charge of using a weapon of mass destruction.
In New Jersey, he is charged with two counts of using and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction for the attempted bombings in Seaside Park and Elizabeth, as well as other charges, authorities said.
The criminal complaint filed in New York says 31 people were injured in the Chelsea blast, although authorities had previously said only 29 were hurt. The injuries included one motorist who was knocked unconscious by the force of the blast, and a woman who had multiple ball bearings removed from her body, according to the complaint.
That filing not only details the types of bombs used in New York — pressure cookers packed with ball bearings and steel nuts — but also references posts made on social media allegedly by Rahami that list two favorite videos as being related to jihad.
The complaint also says that Rahami drove into Manhattan at around 6:30 p.m. Saturday — two hours before the explosion — and that he stayed in the city until 11:30 p.m., long after the situation calmed somewhat.
Earlier Saturday, in Seaside Park, New Jersey, an explosive device consisting of three pipe bombs exploded along the route of a planned Marines 5K charity run at around 9:35 a.m.
The race had been scheduled for 9 a.m., but had been delayed by unrelated law enforcement activity, the FBI said in a criminal complaint. Only one of the three pipe bombs actually detonated, according to the complaint. No one was hurt in that explosion.
The FBI says in both federal complaints that Rahami, with an eBay account using his own name, bought a 5-pound bag of citric acid, circuit boards, electric lighters and ball bearings and steel balls used for slingshots between June 20 and Aug. 10, and had the materials shipped to his workplace in Perth Amboy, N.J.
And video recorded on a cell phone two days before the bombings allegedly shows Rahami using a fuse to ignite flammable material contained in a cylindrical object partially buried in the backyard of an Elizabeth home, according to the complaint. In the video, a loud noise can be heard, then there are flames and laughter, the FBI wrote.
After Rahami was wounded in the shootout on Monday, investigators found a handwritten journal that the FBI said included anti-American sentiments, including: “You (USA Government) continue your … slaught(er) against the mujahidean be it Afghanistan, Iraq, Sham, Palestine …”
In the journal, Rahami allegedly expressed fear that he would be caught before being able to carry out the attack, and referenced slain American-born al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, Osama bin Laden and Nidal Hasan, the Army psychologistwho murdered 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009.
The note ends with: “Inshallah [God willing] the sounds of the bombs will be heard in the streets. Gun shots to your police. Death To Your OPPRESSION,” according to the criminal complaint.
Meanwhile, Rahami’s wife, Asia Bibi Rahami, was interviewed by the FBI in the United Arab Emirates Tuesday, and she told investigators she no knowledge of the plot, a senior law enforcement official said.