A would-be suicide bomber set off part of a homemade explosive device in a subway passage between Times Square and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan during Monday”s morning rush hour, seriously wounding himself and injuring three others, police said.
The injuries to two commuters and a Port Authority police officer were all non-life threatening, according to the New York Fire Department.
At a news conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio called the blast an attempted terrorist attack, and he said no other devices had been found.
The suspect was identified by police as Akayed Ullah, 27, a Bangladeshi native, who lived in Brooklyn. He was in serious condition at Bellevue Hospital Center.
Ullah acted alone, police said, and the device was reported to have gone off prematurely in the passage just 200 feet from the bus terminal at West 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue — one of the busiest transit hubs in the country — at 7:20 am, authorities said. Two commuters and a Port Authority police officer suffered minor injuries, officials said.
The device was affixed to Ullah’s body with Velcro and zip ties, police officials said.
The explosion caused commuter chaos at one of the city’s key traffic hubs.
“Our lives revolve around the subway,” the mayor said. “The choice of New York is always for a reason, because we are beacons of the world. And we show that a society of many background and many faiths can work.”
“The terrorists want to undermine that,” he added. “They yearn to attack New York City.”
“I’m glad I wasn’t there. We were supposed to take a bus out at the time (when the accident happened), so I’m glad we waited,” said Monica Gannon, who planned to take the bus back to New Jersey at this morning when the explosion happened. “We are stuck here. Now we are waiting for all this to be over and go back home.”
“I was evacuated from the terminal after it (the explosion) happened. It was terrible, and I was so scared when I saw some people running,”said Alicia Carmona.
She said she was evacuated from the terminal after the explosion and to wait outside the bus terminal for about two hours.
Carmona said she planned to pick up her niece at LaGuardia Airport at around 9 am, but now she couldn’t make it. “I was thinking to take the subway instead, but the nearby subway stations are closed too.”