National Security

Afghan Immigrant Found Guilty Of New York Terror Bombing Spree

REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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A federal jury on Monday found Ahmad Rahimi guilty of a bomb attack that injured dozens of people in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood last year.

After deliberating for three hours, the Manhattan jury convicted Rahimi on multiple charges including using a weapon of mass destruction, bombing a public place and interstate transportation of explosives during a two-day bombing campaign in and around New York.

Rahimi, who has been jailed since his arrest last year, now faces a life sentence.

“Ahmad Khan Rahimi attacked our country and our way of life. Inspired by ISIS and al Qaeda, Rahimi planted and detonated bombs on the streets of Chelsea, in the heart of Manhattan, and in New Jersey, hoping to kill and maim as many innocent people as possible,” acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said in a statement, according to the New York Daily News. “Rahimi’s crimes of hate have been met with swift and resolute justice. Just over a year after his attacks, and following a fair and open trial, Rahimi now stands convicted of his crimes of terror by a unanimous jury of New Yorkers.”

Prosecutors presented overwhelming forensic and testimonial evidence against Rahimi. FBI agents identified the 29-year-old native of Afghanistan through DNA and fingerprints left on blast debris and unexploded pipe bombs. Investigators also relied on video footage taken from surveillance cameras, which showed Rahimi as he calmly strolled along city sidewalks, a rolling suitcase filled with explosives in each hand.

At trial, prosecutors said that Rahimi was not a member of a terrorist cell but was motivated by the radical Islamic ideology of now-deceased al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki.

Rahimi detonated his first bomb on Saturday morning, Sept. 17, 2016, inside a garbage can near the finish line of a Marine Corps charity race. Due to a delayed start time, nobody was injured by the blast.

The second explosion was calibrated to devastating effect, striking a busy Chelsea sidewalk later that night. Packed with shrapnel, the bomb injured 30 people but miraculously caused no fatalities.

The next day, police discovered more devices left in Manhattan and at a train station in nearby Elizabeth, N.J., which bomb technicians were able to disarm or safely detonate.

Rahimi was arrested two days after the initial bombing, following a shootout with police in Linden, N.J., in which two officers were wounded and he was shot seven times.

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