Explosions in New York and New Jersey Lead to Manhunt and Arrest of Suspected Bomber | Global Resilience Institute

Three devices exploded and five others were discovered over the weekend in a string of apparently connected attacks in New York and New Jersey.

On Saturday, September 17, an improvised device exploded around 9:30 a.m. in a garbage receptacle in Seaside Park, NJ. This marked the beginning of a series of bombings throughout the weekend in New York and New Jersey. Investigators now believe the Seaside Park bombing is likely connected to explosions in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and Elizabeth, NJ, though very little can be said for certain regarding any of the details of apparent attacks.

Bombing Investigation
Police cordon off a section of West 23rd Street to investigate the September 19 bombing. (Wikimedia Commons/

The Seaside Park bombing appears to have been targeting the starting line of a Marine Corps charity run. Due to delays associated with a larger-than-expected turnout for the race, nobody was near the garbage can that housed the device when it went off, and no injuries were reported.

That night, a second bomb – bearing some design similarities to the first – exploded in a dumpster on West 23rd Street, in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. 29 people were injured when the bomb went off around 8:30 p.m., though 26 of the injured had been released from the hospital by Sunday. All of the victims were expected to live. A second, undetonated device was found a few blocks away on 27th Street shortly following the explosion.

On the following night of Sunday, September 18, authorities discovered five pipe bombs in a backpack in Elizabeth, NJ after two men who found the backpack alerted police to its contents. One of the devices exploded while police attempted to disarm it with a robot, though no one was injured. The remaining four devices are being investigated at the FBI laboratory at Quantico, VA. Service to the nearby Elizabeth train station was suspended on Sunday, but resumed Monday morning.

On Monday, police began circulating pictures of Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28 year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan who was wanted in connection with the bombings. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Rahami should be considered armed and dangerous, adding that it remained unclear whether Rahami was acting as part of a larger, or even foreign-connected cell. Rahami was reportedly captured on surveillance video with a duffel bag near the sites of both the 23rd Street bombing and the discovery of the undetonated device on 27th Street. Police claimed that there was also significant evidence to tie Rahami to the Seaside Park bombing, and added that the five devices in Elizabeth were found several blocks from his residence. Rahami was arrested late Monday morning. Much remains unclear regarding his possible motives.

Sources and Further Reading:

Ahmad Khan Rahami Is Arrested in Manhattan and New Jersey BombingsThe New York Times

NY, NJ bombings: Suspect charged with attempted murder of officersCNN