US jury convicts New York subway bomber

A US jury on Tuesday convicted a Bangladeshi driver for detonating a bomb in a crowded New York subway passage near Times Square, allegedly inspired by the Islamic State group.

Akayed Ullah, 28, who lived in Brooklyn after migrating to the United States in 2011, was found guilty by a unanimous jury as Americans went to the polls in the midterm elections. His trial in Manhattan lasted a week.

The December 11, 2017 blast wounded Ullah and three other people in a tunnel below the Port Authority bus terminal, not far from iconic Times Square.

The bomb failed to detonate as planned. Ullah was left with burns to his torso and hands. His victims suffered minor complaints such as ringing in their ears and headaches.

But the explosion sowed panic and disrupted the morning commute during the busy Christmas tourism season, six weeks after another a truck driver, also reportedly inspired by the IS group, killed eight people on a bike path.

“Today, Ullah stands convicted, he faces a potential life sentence, and his purpose failed. New York City remains a shining symbol of freedom and hope,” said Geoffrey Berman, the top US federal prosecutor in Manhattan.

Ullah built the pipe bomb in his apartment, packing the device with metal screws and Christmas tree lights, having planned the would-be suicide bombing for several weeks.

A chilling handwritten note that read “O America die in your rage” was found, along with metal pipes, wires and screws in his Brooklyn home, prosecutors said.

Ullah began to radicalize in 2014, three years after moving to the United States, by watching IS propaganda online before starting to research how to make bombs a year ago, officials said.

His wife and son live in Bangladesh, which is waging its own war against extremism.

(AFP)

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