US suspect vowed 'bombs will be heard in streets', according to chilling federal charges


Authorities have filed charges against Ahmad Khan Rahami after explosives were set off in New York and New Jersey. They say he vowed to martyr himself rather than be caught, and hoped "the sounds of bombs will be heard in the streets".

These are the chilling descriptions that are in the criminal complaints against the Afghan-born US citizen. One of the bombs set off injured more than 31 people when it blew up in a busy Manhattan street.

The scene of the explosion on West 23rd Street in Manhattan.
The scene of the explosion on West 23rd Street in Manhattan (Jason DeCrow/AP)

More details have emerged about Rahami's past, including the disclosure that the FBI had looked into him in 2014, but came up with nothing.

According to the court complaint, a handwritten journal by Rahami, 28, includes a passage that says: "You (USA Government) continue your (unintelligible) slaught(er)" against the mujahideen, or holy warriors, in Afghanistan and elsewhere. "Death to your oppression," the journal ended.

Another section included a reference to "pipe bombs" and a "pressure cooker bomb" and declared: "In the streets they plan to run a mile" - an apparent reference to one of the blast sites, a charity run in a New Jersey shore town.

The scene of the  bombing in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
The scene of the bombing in Elizabeth, New Jersey (Mel Evans/AP)

The chilling journals, according to the complaint, include praise of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki (the American-born Muslim cleric whose preaching inspired other acts of violence before being killed in a 2011 drone strike) and Nidal Hasan (the former army officer who went on a deadly shooting rampage in 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas).

The court complaint also describes Rahami openly buying bomb-making equipment earlier this month.

Before these federal charges were filed, Rahami was already being held on $5.2 million (£4 million) bail, charged with attempted murder of police officers during the shoot-out in New Jersey on Monday. He remains in hospital with gunshot wounds.

A police officer stands guard over Rahami after the shoot-out.
A police officer stands guard over Rahami after the shoot-out (Nicolaus Czarnecki/AP)

Rahami has been investigated before, with no results. In 2014 the FBI opened up an "assessment", the least intrusive form of an FBI inquiry. "The FBI conducted internal database reviews, inter-agency checks and multiple interviews, none of which revealed ties to terrorism," the agency said.

A law enforcement official said the FBI spoke to Rahami's father in 2014 after agents learned of his concerns that the son could be a terrorist. During the inquiry, the father backed away from talk of terrorism and told investigators that he simply meant his son was mixing with the wrong crowd, according to the official.