Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, has been charged with five charges including resisting police, the attempted murder of a police officer, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Rahami was injured on Monday during a gun battle with police whilst they tried to arrest him on suspicion of involvement in the New York and New Jersey bombings. According to the prosecutor’s office in New Jersey, the charges against Rahami are not directly linked to any of the blasts, but rather to the armed clashes that took place between him and the police when he was arrested.
On the other hand, federal prosecutors are looking for the motives behind the blasts and whether Rahami belongs to an internal cell or has links to foreign groups that seek to plan larger attacks in New York and New Jersey. They are reviewing video tapes and other evidence to determine whether Rahami is the only suspect.
Rahami came to the United States in 1995 as a child after his parents claimed asylum there. He received US citizenship in 2011 and travelled to Afghanistan and Pakistan and stayed there for long periods of time during the past five years. While he was in Pakistan, he married a Pakistani woman in 2011, and in 2013 he went to Pakistan and stayed there until March 2014. He then visited Afghanistan before returning to the United States. His family manages a fried chicken restaurant in the city of Elizabeth.
Law enforcement officials said that Rahami appeared to be cooperative during the investigation and that police believe him to be the sole mastermind of the bombings. They are still investigating whether he received outside help. The assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York division William Sweeney said that said there was “no indication that there’s a [terrorist] cell operating” in the New York area, and that all the evidence that they had gathered so far indicates that Rahami was acting alone. He added that the FBI investigation will continue in order to be certain that they “fully understand Rahami’s social network”.
The mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio said that “We have every reason to believe this was an act of terror”. Two federal officials confirmed that Rahami was not on the list of people suspected of having links to terrorism or violent extremism, and investigators are working to determine whether Rahami was motivated by extremism or if there were other motives.