At approximately 07:20am local time, NYPD responded to reports of a suspected pipe-bomb explosion at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue, Manhattan. The suspect, 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, is now in custody with serious but non-life threatening injuries. Three victims of the attack have minor injuries.
The incident is now being investigated as an attempted terrorist attack, according to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD.
While it is too early to know the exact nature of this incident, it underscores the enduring threat terrorists continue to pose to major cities.
- It is the second attack on a major urban public transport network in a matter of months, with a homemade device having been exploded at Parsons Green, London in August.
- This attack also comes after ISIS issued a series of threats against Christians during the upcoming Christmas season, including that they would target Time Square. This time of year is a regular target for terrorists, with last year seeing an attack at a Berlin Christmas market, and two others in Britain and Belgium
- It is the third terror attack in New York this year.
- The first was a far right attacker on 20th March, who stabbed an individual to death and was subsequently charged with one count each of murder in the first and second degrees as an act of terrorism.
- The second on 31st October was claimed by ISIS, and saw a pickup truck driven into pedestrians near the World Trade Centre, killing eight people and injuring 11 others.
- Last September, Ahmad Khan Rahami carried out a series of Islamic State-inspired low-tech bombings in New York and New Jersey.
- Today’s incident was the tenth “successful” IS attack in the U.S. since 2014.
- The U.S. has been one of the major targets of IS’s foreign attacks campaign since 2014, alongside France, Turkey, and Germany. However, the U.S. has tended to be more successful at interdicting these plots.
- The suspect in today’s incident, a 27-year-old male, fits the profile of many such attackers, in that is that he is male in his 20s or early 30s. It fits the trend of assailants choosing crowded urban soft targets in high profile locations where they can maximise casualties, publicity and fear in the centres of the West’s major cities.
Relevant Henry Jackson Society research includes:
Foreign Terrorist Attacks By The Islamic State, 2002-2016
Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offences and Attacks in the UK (1998-2015)
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