The first was on the 17 Sep 16 at 0930 hrs local in New Jersey when a pipe bomb exploded in a rubbish bin. The intended target was the 5KM Semper Five run in Seaside Park which was a charity race where American servicemen and women were running, the device detonated but no injuries occurred due to the late start of the run due to an unattended bag.
On the 17 Sep 16 in St Cloud, Minnesota a male wearing a private security guards uniform stabbed eight people. The individual was heard to make references to Allah (questions similar to those asked in al-Shabaab attacks in Somalia and Kenya; “are you a Muslim”) before the perpetrator was shot dead by an off duty policeman. He was later identified by his father. The knifeman was a Somalian, Dahir A Adana twenty two year old and called himself a soldier of the Islamic State. Adan emigrated from Africa and was born in Mombasa, Kenya but it was unclear where he immigrated from. The attacker had lived in the United States for approximately 15 years and was a student at the St Cloud State University.
On the 17 Sep 16 in the busy area of Chelsea, New York City a device detonated injuring 29 people. The incident occurred at approximately 2100 hrs local. Some witnesses stated that the device exploded in black metal construction toolbox while others stated that it detonated in a Rubbish bin. A police official said that, ”We don’t understand the target or the significance. It’s a pile of dumpsters on a random sidewalk” The Mayor, Bill de Blasio, stated after the incident that although the details were unclear the act was “intentional” a clear indication that he was not going to elaborate nor speculate or give the perpetrators a platform in which to gloat over the act and gain publicity. Later a second device was discovered nearby and was dealt with. In later reports it was revealed that both devices were shrapnel filled ‘pressure cooker’ explosive devices which had flip phones that were probably used to detonate the devices, Christmas lights and explosive compounds. The last time a device of this type was used was in the 2013 Boston Marathon. The first reference to a pressure cooker was on the 1 May 2010 when a 30 year old Pakistani, Faisal Shahzad, was arrested after a failed terrorist attack in Times Square, Manhattan, New York when a car bomb was discovered. Once the robot had been sent forward to examine the vehicle inside was found, amongst other items, a pressure cooker.
Late on the 18 Sep 16 in Elizabeth, New Jersey two men were in a rubbish bin when they discovered a backpack containing several devices. The bag contained pipes and wires and was reported to the authorities. The bag was later examined by a robot and when a wire was cut the devices detonated.
Later the authorities described the weekend bombings in New York and New Jersey as acts of terrorism. It was also stated that although the devices were crude they would not be associated with any international group. However, the attack in Minnesota was claimed by the Islamic State/Da’esh. But with no clear evidence by the authorities this may have been premature as the terrorist group had no knowledge of the future two attacks which they could have claimed.
361 COMMENT: In the early stages there was little or no information that indicates as to who, what or why these terrorist/criminal attacks occurred but options were available. By looking at what was on the table in the first 24 hours we can start to attempt to assess what may be behind the attacks and either include them or throw them out as more evidence is found and more information is given out. With the different style of attacks for example pipe bombs and pressure cookers, the chance are that the attacks were not coordinated, for the same reason as they are different targets.
Excluding the knife attack which was probably a random lone wolf attack that happened to coincide with the other two incidents these appear to be different attacks. Although the Islamic State/Da’esh has claimed it as one of their own they may have been somewhat premature as they would have known that there were more attacks to come and therefore delayed their response. This would also indicate that the other two incidents were not of their doing; it would also indicate that the perpetrators of the two bombing attacks are not linked to either al-Qaeda or Da’esh and fit with the police assessment that the devices were of a crude nature.
The device aimed at the serving service personnel are different are the terrorist act is probably from a person who has been radicalised and wants to kill and maim those who are serving due to the countries commitment to destroy Da’esh. Again the attack happened and is probably coincidental. This will probably be a lone wolf attack.
New York Attacks
The possibility of the person/persons behind the Chelsea attack could be Right-Wing for their disagreement of the Syrian and other nationalities that are currently flooding Europe but with the United States taking some of them into the US.
Another thought maybe that the terrorist acts were carried out because of the war in Iraq/Syria against Da’esh. The supporter/supporters would have been able to find the information on-line on how to build a pressure cooker bomb and this again would fit with the police assessment that the devices were crude. This alleviates the fact that the person/persons have had no formal training and will be off the radar from the Security Services. They or he/she is an unknown and they are the most difficult to track down.
A new terrorist cell could be in place which is unknown and has no internet links which would raise suspicion. If so when and how did they manage to create and stay below the radar? Normally these type of people are not that clever and there will be a trail of emails or some other style of communication somewhere for the FBI to track and would have been able to stop the attack taking place. If they were better trained then this would be more difficult for the authorities to find and would indicate formal training which again would be tied to a major terrorist group. Along with this thought is that the attacks were conducted to assess the police’s Standard Operational Procedures (SOP’s) in how they operate in such circumstances and conduct further terrorist attacks at targets of their choice.
Or the person/persons behind the bombings in New York could have political disagreements. As the presidential election nears this opens up the thought that the devices were politically minded as a hate crime against presidential candidates Trump and Clinton depending on who they support. Already a British male, Michael Standford, attempted to remove a policeman’s weapon and shoot Donald Trump on the 18 Jun 16 in Las Vegas. Although neither candidate was directly attacked this could be a possibility for an indirect assault to show their disagreement to a candidate.
This attack could also be from a lone wolf terrorist.
In later news reports New York officials were looking for a suspect in regards to the incidents in the Chelsea area. He was named as Ahmed Khan Rahami, 28, he is of Afghan decent and was born on the 23 Jan 1988. His last known address was in Elizabeth New Jersey, the report stated that they were searching a residence in that area. What is also not known is if the male is wanted in connection to the blast or whether he is wanted just for questioning.
Although no mention of international terrorist links this may change as the investigation continues and more evidence comes to light.
Authorities and Media
Although local authorities have been slow and not very informative with information this is a good thing although somewhat frustrating. By denying the person/persons or group a platform to seek publicity it will be displeasing to them as they will want to know how much it has affected the government and populace of their act. This may goad them into carrying out more attacks in the future in order to gain the much needed publicity for their criminal/terrorist act. Sadly other people will be involved and some may lose their lives but would give the authorities more to work on. However, it is hoped that they would be caught before any more damage to lives and property could be done.
The main concern is the press in their hunt for the sensationalism that sells newspapers above their competitors or those media groups who attempt the same goal. Because they have not got much information to work with, they consistently aim to find the “eye witness” that has more to tell than others. No matter how far from the incident the witness was each has a story to tell which is relayed over the various networks. This plays well into those who carryout terrorist attacks. Just because they are not getting the platform and publicity from the authorities they show the fear in the interviewed witnesses which allows those carrying out the attacks that their aim has been achieved.