Ahmad Khan Rahami, the 28-year-old devout Muslim jihadist who was apprehended Monday after a shootout with police, purportedly began plans for a bombing in mid-June when he purchased more than 200 round lead and steel balls designed as slingshot ammunition.
ABC News “Ball bearings can be used in improvised explosives to increase fragmentation and thus to increase the lethality of the device,” FBI agent Peter Fredrick Licata said in a criminal complaint filed late Tuesday in New York. Elsewhere the complaint notes that the bomb that detonated in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood was “packed with ball bearings and steel nuts.”
According to Licata, Rahami began buying bomb ingredients as far back as June 20. His shopping list allegedly included electronic circuit boards and “electric igniters” intended to be used “for fireworks,” as well as 200 “hardened lead milling balls” and two packages of .50 caliber “sling shot ammo.” Those items, Licata wrote, were used as detonators and shrapnel in the pressure cooker bombs that Rahami placed in Chelsea.
Over the next several weeks, Rahami used eBay to purchase several other components that Licata wrote can be used in bombs, including citric acid, a “precursor chemical commonly used in improvised explosives,” the complaint says.
The dud bomb, which may have been disabled by two unwitting thieves, reportedly had Rahami’s fingerprints all over it, including on duct tape, a cell phone that was used as a timing mechanism, and on the pressure cooker itself. Rahami’s fingerprints were also found on evidence collected from a backpack full of pipe bombs discovered Saturday night near the train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey, not far from Rahami’s home.
Other evidence — including another cellphone that was used a timing mechanism — links Rahami to three pipe bombs that were taped together and placed inside a trash can along the route of a Marine Corps charity race in Seaside Park, New Jersey, on Saturday morning.
First look at bloody journal discovered with alleged bomber Ahmad Rahami, this page cites Al Qaeda & ISIS leaders pic.twitter.com/AT9VsZS9qu
— Mike Levine (@MLevineReports) September 21, 2016
Though authorities have not described a motive in the attack (Say WHAT?), the complaint revealed that Rahami allegedly wrote anti-American screeds in a journal and praised al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, American-born al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and the gunman in the 2009 Fort Hood massacre, Nidal Hasan.
“You (USA Government) continue your [unintelligible] slaught[er] against the mujahidean [Islamic jihadists] be it Afghanistan, Iraq, Sham [Syria], Palestine…” part of the journal reads, according to the complaint. “[“Inshallah” God willing] the sounds of the bombs will be heard in the streets. Gun shots to your police. Death to your OPPRESSION.”