'NY suspect's Pakistani wife left US days before bombings'

Last Updated 20 September 2016, 14:39 IST

 The Pakistani-origin wife of New York and New Jersey bombings suspect left the US just days before the attacks and authorities are now working with Pakistani and UAE officials to get access to her, media reports said today.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old Afghan-born naturalised US citizen since 2011, had married a Pakistani woman and had made at least three months-long trips to both Pakistan and Afghanistan since 2014.

US authorities are working with his wife's home country of Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates in order to question the woman about what she might have known about the acts of terror, CNN reported, quoting an unnamed official as saying.

His wife, whose name has not been revealed, was able to enter the country but left the US just days before the terrorist attacks her husband is suspected of carrying out.

What was his motive? Was he working alone? Why did he make lengthy trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan?

These are among the questions that have emerged in the wake of the capture of the man suspected of planting bombs in New York and New Jersey over the weekend, the report said.

Rahami was not initially cooperative with police who tried to interview him, a law enforcement official said.

Authorities believe the "main guy" has been caught but the investigation continues to determine if Rahami had help, the report quoted sources as saying.

Though FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr., said there is "no indication" of an active operating terror cell in the New York area, evidence suggests Rahami was not acting alone, sources said.

Authorities said Rahami is "directly linked" to bombings on Saturday in New York City and Seaside Park, New Jersey, and he is believed to be connected to pipe bombs found in a backpack Sunday night in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Rahami was charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose on Monday, according to the Union County (New Jersey) prosecutor's office.

Rahami was wounded in a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey, yesterday.
Rahami was identified through a fingerprint, a senior law enforcement official said. Evidence from the cell phone on the pressure cooker also led to Rahami's identification.

Rahami first came to the United States in 1995 as a child, after his father arrived seeking asylum, and became a naturalised US citizen in 2011, according to a law enforcement official who reviewed his travel and immigration record.

Rahami traveled for long periods to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the last five years, officials said. While in Pakistan in July 2011, he married a Pakistani woman. Two years later, in April 2013, he went to Pakistan and remained there until March 2014, visiting Afghanistan before returning to the United States.

Upon returning from both visits he told officials he was visiting family, satisfying any concerns immigration officials had at the time.

(Published 20 September 2016, 14:39 IST)

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