NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - A man set off an explosive device that was strapped on his body in the subway system in the Times Square area during the busy Monday morning rush-hour commute, severely injuring himself but only causing a few other minor injuries.
Investigators say the device was ignited with a Christmas light, matches and a nine-volt battery. The short pipe was filled with some sort of explosive powder but did not explode the pipe as intended.
The suspect is reportedly an ISIS-inspired immigrant from Bangladesh and lives in Brooklyn. The NYPD identified him as Akayed Ullah. He was taken into custody and rushed to the hospital.
In a criminal complaint, federal authorities claim Ullah told authorities he "did it for the Islamic State" and wrote on his Facebook page Monday: "Trump you failed to protect your nation."
It happened around 7:30 a.m. in the subway system in the area of the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd Street Station at 8th Avenue in Manhattan. The A, C and E line were evacuated as police searched for any additional explosives. The nearby Port Authority Bus Terminal was also evacuated.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to the scene and updated the media at a mid-morning news conference.
"This was an attempted terrorist attack," de Blasio said. "Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals."
The blast happened in an underground passageway between two subway lines. Fox 5 News reported that it appeared that the device detonated prematurely. Police said that they have very clear surveillance video of the incident.
Video captured by a security camera showed the explosion take place as the man walked in a busy passageway. It filled with smoke after the man fell to the ground. A few moments later, Port Authority police officers with their guns drawn rushed towards him to take him into custody.
The Port Authority reported that PAPD Officer Jack Collins apprehended the suspect with help from P.O. Sean Gallagher, P.O. Anthony Manfredini and P.O. Drew Preston.
Thousands flooded into the streets trying to get away. Specially trained NYPD units and counterterrorism teams arrived to make sure there were no other immediate threats.
The FDNY said that three other people were injured along with the bomber.
"The perpetrator detonated the device. It caused burns to the hands and the abdomen, also lacerations," Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. "Our EMS personnel removed the perpetrator to Bellevue Hospital where they're being treated now."
Nigro added that the three other people hurt in the explosion left the area themselves and went to hospitals. Two victims went to Mt. Sinai West and the third to Mt. Sinai Queens. Nigro said their injuries were not serious.
"All with minor injuries that are consistent with being in the area of the explosion," he said. "That is ringing in the ears and headaches."
Ullah had been licensed to drive a livery cab between 2012 and 2015, according to the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission. But the commission said it doesn't know if Ullah actually worked as a driver during that time.
1, 2, 3, A, C, E, N, Q, R, W and 7 trains bypassed the 42 Street station for a few hours after the attack. Service on the B line was suspended for a period of time.
8th Avenue and several crosstown roads were shut down in the Times Square area. The West Side Highway was closed in the area for a short period and no cars were being allowed to exit the FDR Drive from 59th to 42nd Streets in Midtown in the initial stages of the investigation.
While the Port Authority Bus Terminal was closed, NJ Transit buses were dropping off commuters coming in from New Jersey at 40th Street and 10 Avenue. Other buses were diverted to the Hoboken, New Jersey, station to switch to train service. Fox 5's traffic reporter recommended drivers avoid the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan because of delays caused by the incident.
PATH trains cross-honored tickets for NJ Transit bus lines.
The blast happened during the rush hour when that area is very busy with commuters.
They're evacuating the port authority at times square. I just arrived by bus and got quickly ushered out. pic.twitter.com/tMqXv5Dqgq— mike (@wryse) December 11, 2017
The White House press secretary said that President Trump was briefed on the incident and would be updated as new information was available.
Monday's incident happened less than two months after a man who entered the United States in 2010 under a diversity visa program used a rented pickup truck to mow down pedestrians and cyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center Memorial, killing eight and injuring 12.
Update regarding explosion at 42nd St and 8th Ave, in subway: One male suspect is in custody. No injuries other than suspect at this time. Avoid the area. Subways bypassing #PortAuthority and Times Square Stations. Info is preliminary. pic.twitter.com/bEAdjq8mYc— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) December 11, 2017
#PortAuthority: Open w/all bus lines back in svc. Check w/carrier for latest info. https://t.co/KyTwzC5w6H— Port Authority NY&NJ (@PANYNJ) December 11, 2017
MTA reopened 42 St Subway station at 2pm, including direct access to @PABusTerminal.
@PATHTrain adding extra svc for commuters leaving NYC during afternoon/PM rush. pic.twitter.com/kjH2LaVwv6
With Fox 5 News/Fox5NY.com staff and AP reports.