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Ahmad Rahami identified as N.Y., N.J. bombings suspect: Officials

By Miguel Almaguer, Alex Johnson, Tom Winter And Jonathan Dienst,

Investigators on Monday were hunting for a 28-year-old New Jersey man suspected of having a hand in series of blasts that terrorized New York and New Jersey over the last three days.

Ahmad Rahami of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was identified as a suspect after a fingerprint was found on one of the devices that failed to detonate, a senior law enforcement official told NBC News.

They also found more information that pointed to Rahami on cell phones that were wired to the unexploded bombs, the official said.

“He certainly seemed to do virtually nothing to cover his tracks,” the official says.

The official also downplayed any talk of Rahimi being part of a “cell” and said at this point have no idea whether anyone else was involved.

Asked whether whether the bombings were ISIS-inspired or directed, the official said authorities have no idea: “We’re a long way from that.”

Still, the FBI warned that Rahami should be considered armed and dangerous. And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said officials could not rule out international terrorism.

“Today’s information suggests it may be foreign related, but we’ll see where it goes,” Cuomo said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Latest developments:

  • Law enforcement ID suspect as 28-year-old New Jersey man
  • Device explodes near train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey
  • Surveillance video appears to show the same man at both New York locations where devices were found
  • Governor orders 1,000 state troopers and National Guard soldiers to New York City

Rahami is the man seen in surveillance footage taken Saturday night in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, the site of an explosion that injured 29 people, a senior law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the investigation told NBC News.

The source said there is other physical evidence linking Rahimi to the devices that went off or were found in New York and New Jersey.

Device explodes in N.J. as bomb robot investigates (Photo credit NBC News)
Device explodes in N.J. as bomb robot investigates (Photo credit NBC News)

The development came hours after a backpack that appeared to contain pipe bombs exploded as a police robot examined it near a New Jersey train station. That blast happened shortly before 1 a.m. ET Monday. It was the second in New Jersey since Saturday morning.

Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage told reporters the bomb squad robot was “cutting into the device when it exploded” in his city. A spokesman for Bollwage had earlier described the blast as a controlled detonation.

Meanwhile, officials familiar with the investigation confirmed to NBC News that heavily armed FBI agents spotted at a fried chicken restaurant in Elizabeth around 6 a.m. were involved in the tri-state bombs probe.

Several law enforcement officials told NBC News that they are concerned that an active terrorism cell with multiple players could be at work in the New York-New Jersey area.


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