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New Jersey Man Sentenced For Manhattan Bombing

Nina Agrawal, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

NEW YORK -- A New Jersey man who planted a pair of pressure-cooker bombs in Manhattan in September 2016, including one that injured more than 30 people, was sentenced Tuesday to two life sentences plus 30 years.

Ahmad Khan Rahimi, 30, was convicted in October on charges including using weapons of mass destruction, bombing public places and destroying property by means of fire or explosives. The charges also included using a destructive device during and in furtherance of a crime of violence.

At the sentencing at federal court in Manhattan, Rahimi said: "I don't harbor hate towards anyone."

Judge Richard Berman told Rahimi that he sounded reasonable, but that his actions were at odds with his words.

"At liberty in the community you would be and are a clear and present danger," Berman said.

In September 2016, Rahimi transported two improvised, pressure-cooker bombs from New Jersey to New York, placing both in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, authorities said. One bomb left near a trash bin went off about 8:30 p.m., injuring multiple victims. The other bomb was discovered and rendered safe before it went off.

Rahimi was later captured after a shootout with police in Linden, N.J.

Rahimi was born in Afghanistan but brought to the U.S. as a child. He grew up in Elizabeth, N.J., above his parents' fried-chicken restaurant, and was believed to have been radicalized during trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In an interview with the local NBC station on Monday, Rahimi's father, Mohammad Rahami, who uses a slightly different last name, called his son a "terrorist."

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"He did it as a terrorist ... This is terrorist," Rahami said.

Two years earlier, Rahami told NBC, he had contacted the FBI about his son's activities, but the FBI closed the investigation after two months.

A spokeswoman for the FBI said in a statement that in August 2014, the FBI initiated an assessment of Rahimi based on comments made by his father after a domestic dispute.

"The FBI conducted extensive internal database reviews, interagency checks, and multiple interviews, none of which revealed ties to terrorism," the statement said.

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