A man who was inspired by al-Qaeda and set off a bomb in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, injuring more than 30 people, has been sentenced to life in prison. He also tried to carry out other attacks in the region.
Ahmad Khan Rahimi, a 30-year-old man who is originally from Afghanistan, was convicted in October for his execution and attempted execution of bombings in New York City on September 17, 2016. He was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison.
“Rahimi attempted to wreak havoc in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. He failed,” said NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill. “Committing terrorism may seem, from the darkest places of the internet and espoused in propaganda, as a higher calling. It is not. Today’s sentencing – of life in prison – should be the strongest deterrent to future acts of terror.”
The attacks began on the morning of September 17, 2016, when an explosive device went off inside a garbage can along the route for a Marine Corps charity run in Seaside Park in New Jersey. The attack caused no injuries as the race had started late and the bomb only partially detonated.
Later that day, at about 8:30 p.m., a bomb exploded near a dumpster on West 23rd Street in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, injuring more than 30 people and causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. A second bomb was planted on West 27th Street but was defused in time.
The bombings caused a massive manhunt in New York and neighboring states.
The next evening, a backpack containing 6 improvised explosive devices was found at the entrance to the New Jersey Transit station in Elizabeth, New Jersey. One of the devices detonated as law enforcement used a robot to defuse it, but no one was injured.
On the morning of September 19, Rahimi was spotted by police in Linden, New Jersey. Rahimi fired multiple shots as he tried to escape, injuring multiple police officers before he himself was shot and placed under arrest.
Rahimi was found to be carrying a handwritten journal in which he mentioned bombs, writing: “The sounds of bombs will be heard in the streets” and “Bombs set off in the streets they plan to run a mile.” The notes mentioned former al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, but also former ISIS commander Mohammed al-Adnani and Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan.
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