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Millions of residents in New York and New Jersey woke up to alerts on their phones for the suspect in multiple bombings in the area over the weekend, including two pressure cooker bombs in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. By Monday morning authorities had released a photo of the suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, apparently a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Afghanistan, while video of his last known address, above a fried chicken joint in Elizabeth, N.J. unspooled across TV news.
On Fox & Friends, correspondent Leland Vittert stood across the street from Rahami’s home and noted that two men found a backpack near the location. There were wires protruding, so they called police.
The bomb in that backpack near the train station in Elizabeth, N.J., was the big development overnight on Sunday — as Los Angeles was celebrating the Emmy Awards. And it led authorities to suspend New Jersey Transit trains into New York’s busy Pennsylvania Station. Morning TV — local and national broadcasts — dispatched correspondents to the busy commuter hub on a rainy Monday morning. Good Morning America’s Amy Robach was there, and as pictures of an intensely heightened security presence played, she noted that she and the ABC News crew saw an armored military vehicle crossing 8th Ave, near Penn Station.
“It was pretty alarming,” said Robach. “[It’s] something you expect to seen in a war zone, not on the streets of New York City. But it is certainly a sign of the times. This is not your average Monday.”
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Indeed, NBC News war correspondent Richard Engel, who resides in Istanbul, was dispatched to Chelsea for the latest developments. “It does seem that there is an active bomber or group of bombers on the loose in the New York tri-state area,” Engel said on the Today show, while noting that it was nonetheless a fairly “amateur” attempt.
On GMA, George Stephanopoulos had an interview with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio who talked up the “beefed up security” in and around New York City as the United Nations General Assembly gets underway on Monday with a raft of foreign dignitaries — including President Obama — in town.
Both De Blasio and New York governor Andrew Cuomo declared on Sunday that the bombings did not appear to have an “international” component. But with the revelation of an Afghan-born suspect overnight on Sunday, they were both somewhat revising themselves in TV interviews on Monday morning.
“You were reluctant to call this an act of terrorism,” Stephanopolous put it to De Blasio. But with five people detained during a traffic stop on the Verrazano Bridge late Sunday, Stephanopoulos pressed: “Do you believe that there are more attacks possibly coming or do you believe the threat is contained?”
The mayor did not answer the question directly, instead he talked up the New York Police Department, noting that it has “the largest anti-terror capacity of any police force in the country.” And he added, “The situation is speeding up. I’m very confident we’re going to find the individuals involved. A lot more information is coming in.”
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Meanwhile over on CNN, Cuomo told Alisyn Camerota: “I would not be surprised if we did have a foreign connection to the act.”
On the Today show, former NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton, who coincidentally retired last Friday, appeared in the studio with Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer. Guthrie asked if the various incidents were connected. Noting that this is only the “second successful attack” since 9/11, Bratton said, “We have enough information to clearly indicate this was an act of terrorism.”
Lauer pressed if the NYPD had any specific suspect involved in this attack “under surveillance.” Bratton answered that he “won’t speak to that.”
Speaking to New York 1’s Pat Kiernan, Cuomo added that the bombings were the “textbook definition of terrorism” but that authorities were working to determine if there was a foreign organizing component. And he added, in his distinct New York accent, that “New Yorkers will not be intimidated.”
Of course, the bombings have inevitably taken on a political angle. On CBS This Morning, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim to lead a major western capital and an outspoken critic of Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, told anchors Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell: “There are tens of thousands of proud Muslims who are proud Americans.”
He added with regard to the U.S. presidential election that is less than two months away: “I hope the best candidate wins, and I’m sure she will.”
At about 11:20 a.m. in New York, authorities revealed that Khan had been taken into custody in Linden, N.J. after a shootout with police. Cable news and many broadcast networks broke into regularly scheduled programming to cover the latest developments.
Trump is scheduled to talk to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly on Monday night.
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