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US slaps terror charges on Times Square bomb suspect

Thompson Reuters

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27-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant, Akayed Ullah who attempted to detonate a homemade pipe bomb strapped to his body at a New York commuter hub during Monday morning rush hour. Photo taken by a New York City Authority employee.

NEW YORK — United States prosecutors on Tuesday brought federal charges against the suspect Bangladeshi man, accusing him of using a weapon of mass destruction in Monday’s bombing of a Manhattan commuter hub.

A 27-year-old Bangladeshi, Akayed Ullah, and self-described supporter of Islamic State, was also charged in a criminal complaint filed in US district court in Manhattan with bombing a public place, destruction of property by means of explosive and use of a destructive device.

Ullah planned to “murder as many human beings as he could … in support of a vicious terrorist cause,” acting U.S. attorney Joon Kim told a news conference after filing the charges.

New York police say Ullah set off a pipe bomb in an underground corridor of the subway system that connects Times Square to the Port Authority Bus Terminal at rush hour on Monday morning, injuring himself and three others.

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He told police interviewers after the blast that “I did it for the Islamic State,” according to court papers filed by federal prosecutors.

Ullah began the process of self-radicalization in 2014 when he began viewing pro-Islamic State materials online and carried out his attack because he was angry over US policies in the Middle East, prosecutors said.

New York officials on Tuesday also filed state charges against Ullah, as investigators in his home country questioned his wife.

Ullah was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, supporting an act of terrorism, and making a terroristic threat under New York state law, the New York Police Department said.

The federal charges, which are expected to take precedence over the state charges, carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Ullah remains in the hospital. His first appearance in the case will likely be there either later on Tuesday or on Wednesday.

On the morning of the attack, Ullah posted on his Facebook page, “Trump you failed to protect your nation.”

Ullah`s passport, which was recovered from his home, had handwritten notes, including one that read, “O AMERICA, DIE IN YOUR RAGE.”

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9 Syrians freeze to death while crossing to Lebanon

Gorkha Post

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BEIRUT — At least nine Syrians froze to death crossing into Lebanon when an icy storm hit a smuggling route in the mountains near a border post with Syria in the early hours of Friday, Lebanon’s army says.

Military officials said in a statement the Syrians, including two children and six women, were caught in a strong snowstorm while trying to cross the mountainous frontier between the two nations.

The military said in a statement that the bodies were found on a people-smuggling route in the early hours of Friday after a snowstorm hit the Masnaa area, where Lebanon’s largest official border crossing with Syria is located.

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“The army saved six other displaced Syrians, one of whom died later in a hospital from frostbite,” the statement added, raising the death toll to 10.

“The bodies were taken to the hospitals in the area, and the army continues to search for other displaced people trapped in the snow, in order to evacuate them and provide medical treatment for them.”

The army arrested two Syrians on smuggling charges and is still searching for others lost in the snow.

Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan have now all closed their border crossings to Syrian refugees.

Syrians wishing to enter Lebanon must prove to Lebanese authorities they have reason to be in Lebanon, such as property ownership, an embassy appointment, or a residency permit.

Reuters/AP

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