The suspect in the bombing this month in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood appears to have acted on his own, with no connection to an extremist movement, the FBI said Tuesday.
“We see so far no indication of a larger cell or the threat of related attacks,” FBI director James Comey testified at a Senate committee hearing.
The suspect in the Sept. 17 bombing that left 31 people wounded, Ahmad Khan Rahami, was arrested two days after the attack.
US prosecutors, in a 13-page indictment on Sept. 20, slapped him with four charges, including use of weapons of mass destruction.
In addition to the New York attack, he is charged with a pipe bombing, also on Sept. 17, in Seaside Park, New Jersey, and planting several other bombs.
A naturalized U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan, Rahami made several trips in recent years to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The terror charges came after the Federal Bureau of Investigation admitted it had investigated Rahami for terrorism in 2014 following a complaint from his father, but found no link to radicalization or extremist sympathies.
Comey said the FBI is seeing a slight slowdown in new U.S. terror investigation cases, but some 1,000 probes are currently ongoing.
“I hope that it’s going to … head downward but it has not headed downward yet,” he told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
By contrast, he said, the number of people leaving the country to join the Islamic State group in Syria or Iraq has fallen sharply.
“Where we used to see eight or 10 people from the United States trying to go to the so-called caliphate, we’re now down to one or none a month,” he said.
The sister of a man charged with setting off bombs in New Jersey and New York and injuring more than 30 people this month told police in August 2014 that he was getting ready to hit her with a dumbbell and stabbed another brother in the leg when he jumped in to help her, police reports show.
Zobydha Rahami told investigators that Ahmad Khan Rahami was preparing to pray when he began throwing things at her in their family’s home above their fried chicken restaurant in Elizabeth. She said he then punched and slapped her in the face, hit her and her mother with a phone charger wire and grabbed the dumbbell.
She said an ensuing fight between Ahmad Rahami and two of his brothers led to brother Nasim Rahami placing him in a chokehold before Ahmad Rahami grabbed a knife from a coffee table and stabbed him in the leg. She said the fight continued as Nasim Rahami, another brother and then Ahmad Rahami’s wife tried to get the knife away from him and then Ahmad Rahami threw a pan at him and went to his room with his wife.
Zobydha Rahami told police that she feared for her brothers’ lives but the police weren’t called that night because the siblings “did not want to get our brother in trouble.” The next day, Ahmad Rahami got into an argument with his father, who then wanted the police to arrest him, she said, according to a statement police took from her on Aug. 22, 2014.
Zobydha Rahami and Nasim Rahami were treated at a hospital for minor injuries and were released.
charges, and a grand jury then declined to indict him.
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