City Bombings, New York and New Jersey - September 19
In September of this year, a series of bombings took place in the New York and New Jersey area. The first explosion occurred alongside a Marine Corps charity race in Seaside Heights, New Jersey on the morning of September 17th
, thankfully not resulting in any injuries. Authorities report the explosion was the result of 3 pipe bombs tied together and hidden in a trash can along the race route. Later that evening, around 8:30pm, a pressure cooker bomb exploded in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, resulting in 31 injuries
. Shortly thereafter, a 911 tip led to the discovery of a second pressure cooker device 4 blocks north. As law enforcement was engaged in a thorough investigation
to discover the bomber, another suspicious package was reported near a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The FBI deployed robots to examine the contents of the bag, discovering 5 bombs. Though the bomb was accidentally detonated, no injuries resulted.
Investigators utilized local surveillance footage and a fingerprint on the unexploded pressure cooker in Chelsea to lead them to the suspected bomber. On Monday, September 19th, law enforcement arrested Ahmad Rahami in Linden, NJ following a shoot-out that injured three police officers.
No terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the attacks, and FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney reported there was no indication of a terrorist cell operating in the area of the city
. Though Rahami may have been acting as a lone wolf, it is likely that he was influenced by terrorist propaganda. Specific instructions for these types of devices utilized were detailed in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire
magazine in an article entitled “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom”. Additionally, Rahami chose to target “soft” civilian areas, consistent with ISIL propaganda.
Radicalization of lone wolf actors by terrorist propaganda, and attacks against soft targets have been a continued trend in 2016. Law enforcement and security efforts should focus on advanced intelligence, such as monitoring of social media and online activity for signs of radicalization and any specific threats. Furthermore, soft targets can be more effectively secured with roving patrols as a deterrent, and explosive detection methods such as an explosive detection canine. If canines are utilized, it is imperative they be trained to the latest explosive threat, including homemade explosive elements.
Image Credit: CNN