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Guilty Verdict in Times Square Subway Bombing

Category: Politics,War & Conflict

A man inspired by the Islamic State was found guilty of federal terrorism charges on Tuesday for detonating a pipe bomb last year in a crowded subway corridor near Times Square.

The verdict came after a weeklong trial in which jurors were shown videos that tracked the man’s journey from his Brooklyn apartment until the moment of the blast.

The would-be suicide bomber, Akayed Ullah, 28, a Bangladeshi immigrant, was the most seriously injured when his makeshift weapon malfunctioned last Dec. 11, and at least one person near him was wounded by shrapnel. The explosion caused panic during the early morning rush hour, filling parts of nearby Port Authority terminal with smoke and sending thousands of commuters fleeing.

Throughout Mr. Ullah’s trial in Manhattan, the defense never disputed he had set off a bomb. Not only did the government have video footage of Mr. Ullah as he was thrown to the ground by the force of the blast, but the authorities also found bomb components in his apartment. Mr. Ullah also admitted responsibility for the attack during a four-hour interrogation at Bellevue Hospital, a New York police detective testified.

“He stated that he did it for the Islamic State — that he did it for Allah,” the detective, Daniel Byrne, said.

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Mr. UllahCreditNY Taxi and Limousine Commission, via Associated Press

[See the videos of Mr. Ullah’s journey from his apartment to Port Authority Bus Terminal]

The bombing was the first attempted suicide attack in New York City since Sept. 11, 2001, and it came just weeks after another man whom the authorities say also admitted to being inspired by the Islamic State drove a truck down a crowded Hudson River bike path, killing eight people.

Mr. Ullah, an electrician, spent a year plotting his attack, a prosecutor, George D. Turner, said in the government’s closing argument. “He was cold and calculated.”

He said all Mr. Ullah needed to do to detonate his bomb was touch the loose ends of a wire on the device to a 9-volt battery in his pants pocket.

“He acted as the trigger, the switch — he made himself part of the bomb,” Mr. Turner told the jury.

Mr. Ullah’s federal defender, Amy Gallicchio, did not contest that her client had set off a bomb but argued that Mr. Ullah was trying only to kill himself and not others. “He wanted to die,” she said. “He wanted to take his own life. And only his life.”

She said Mr. Ullah had been influenced by “images and messages that distorted Islam.”

But another prosecutor, Sean G. Crowley, countered in a rebuttal that the defense’s suicide argument was nonsense.

“The defendant detonated a shrapnel-filled bomb in the middle of the busiest subway station in the United States during rush hour,” Ms. Crowley said. “He did it to terrorize, to injure and kill.”

Mr. Ullah was convicted of using a weapon of mass destruction, bombing a mass transportation system and other counts. He could face life imprisonment when he is sentenced by Judge Richard J. Sullivan.


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