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New York Bombings Update:Chelsea Bombings suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami arrested

The suspect, Ahmad Khan , a 28-year-old U.S. citizen of Afghan descent weighing in at 5-foot-6 and 200 pounds was arrested

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Representational Image of FBI Source: Pixabay
  • Latest Update:Ahmad Khan arrested in relation to the recent Chelsea bombings
  • New York governor says ‘possible foreign connection’ in Chelsea Bombings
  • Five suspected bombs found in wake of weekend Manhattan bombing

The FBI said that Rahami, 28, was born in Afghanistan and is believed to be living in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

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In a press release from the FBI, Rahami, who is a U.S. citizen, should “be considered armed and dangerous.”

A federal source confirms to the public that Rahami is considered separate from the five people who were detained by the FBI on Sunday night. Those individuals were taken in for questioning during a traffic stop at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the bridge that connects the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island.

The federal official also confirms that the same model flip-style cell phone was used as a detonator for the two bombs in Chelsea (a second device was discovered on Saturday night and disarmed by authorities) and the bomb that went off ahead of a charity run in Seaside Park, New Jersey, which is about 85 miles south of Manhattan.

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Both bombings occurred within hours of each other on Saturday.

No one was injured in the Seaside Park bombing. Although twenty-nine people were injured in the Chelsea bombing but none of the injuries are considered to be life-threatening. (VOA)

 

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Texas Mass Shooting: ‘It isn’t a guns situation, but a mental problem’, Says Trump

An eyewitness to the shootings, who is a Vietnam War vet, told VOA's Mehtap Colak Yilmaz that he had not seen anything like the church massacre "since Vietnam."

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, not pictured, at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg(VOA)

White House, November 6, 2017 : A man opened fire with an assault weapon at a church near San Antonio, Texas, Sunday morning, killing 26 worshippers and wounding at least 20.

The victims range from five to 72 years old.

The gunman is also dead and there is no clue so far as to his motive.

Federal investigators from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms have joined local law enforcement officers in tiny Sutherland Springs, Texas, about 50 kilometers from San Antonio.

On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump said the mass shooting “isn’t a guns situation” but is instead “a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event.” He said the shooter was “a very deranged individual.” The president is monitoring the situation from Japan, the first stop on his five-nation Asian trip.

Earlier, Trump called the shootings “an act of evil” and appealed for prayers. He ordered U.S. flags on federal buildings to be flown at half-staff through Thursday.

“We cannot put into words, the pain and grief we all feel and we cannot begin to imagine the suffering of those who lost the ones they so dearly loved. Our hearts are broken,” the president said.

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott says this is worst mass shooting in Texas history. He said there are “many pieces of a complex puzzle” to put together.

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Members of the Wilson County Sheriff’s office stand inside a taped off area near the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Nov. 5, 2017. VOA

What is known, according to Texas public safety official Freeman Martin, is that the gunman, later identified as Devin P. Kelley, was described as a young white male dressed in black and wearing a bullet-proof vest. He first opened fire with an assault rifle outside the First Baptist Church and continued shooting after going inside.

Freeman said a local resident with his own rifle confronted the shooter, causing the gunman to drop his weapon and flee in his car. The citizen pursued the gunman, joined shortly by police. Freeman said the suspect crashed the car just over the county line and was found dead in the vehicle from a gunshot wound. It is unclear if he killed himself or was shot by the citizen.

Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt says police found multiple weapons in the suspect’s car.

U.S. Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told VOA late Sunday that records show Kelley was discharged from the Air Force about three years ago: “Records checks confirm Devin P. Kelley was previously a USAF member, who served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman AFB, NM, from 2010 until his discharge in 2014. Kelley was court-martialed in 2012 for two counts of Article 128 UCMJ ((EDS: Uniform code of Military Justice)) — assault on his spouse and assault on their child. Kelley received a Bad Conduct Discharge, confinement for twelve months and a reduction to the grade of E-1.”

ALSO READ 26 people killed as a Shooter opens fire in a Church in Texas

Two of the victims were killed outside the church. The rest were shot inside.

An eyewitness to the shootings, who is a Vietnam War vet, told VOA’s Mehtap Colak Yilmaz that he had not seen anything like the church massacre “since Vietnam.”

Marie Ann Montgomery, the church’s Sunday school director, told VOA’s Yilmaz that people in the congregation knew Kelley and some of the suspect’s family members were among the victims. Montgomery stopped short, however, of saying the suspect deliberately targeted his family.

While none of the victims have been publicly identified, First Baptist Church Pastor Frank Pomeroy told U.S. news networks that his 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle Renee Pomeroy, is among the deceased.

Pomeroy was in Oklahoma at the time of the shooting. He told ABC News he was on his way back to Sutherland Springs.

Sutherland Springs, Texas on the map. VOA

​He said all of the people killed Sunday were close friends. Pomeroy also said he wants the world to know his daughter “was one very beautiful special child.”

Sheriff Tackitt says the church posts its weekly services on YouTube and that the massacre was likely caught on camera. The FBI says it believes only one gunman was involved.

Sunday’s Texas shooting comes just weeks after October’s mass killing in Las Vegas. Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music show there, killing 58 and wounding about 500. Paddock shot from his 32nd floor hotel room and killed himself as police moved in. Investigators in the Las Vegas shooting are still working to confirm a motive. (VOA)

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Donald Trump Planning to meet Putin during his Asia tour

Donald Trump's first trip to Asia is the longest international tour.

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US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump. wikimedia commns
  • US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he expected to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during his Asia tour.

“I think it’s expected we’ll meet with Putin, yeah. We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders,” Donald Trump told reporters on Air Force One before landing at the Yokota Air Base in Japan, Efe reported.

Putin is scheduled to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, which Trump will also attend as part of his long Asia tour.

The North Korean nuclear threat is expected to dominate Donald Trump’s meetings in Japan and the next two stages of his tour, South Korea and China, where he will have a highly anticipated sit-down with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The remainder of the tour will be more focused on economic issues, with Trump scheduled to take part in the APEC meeting in Da Nang and then in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and the East Asia Summit in the Philippines.

Donald Trump’s first trip to Asia is the longest international tour by a US head of state since the one then-President George H.W. Bush embarked on in 1992.

Bush became ill at the end of that trip, famously vomiting on the Japanese prime minister’s lap at a formal dinner before fainting.(IANS)

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IS Sudden Claim for New York City Truck Attack Raises Questions on the Collapse of the Group

With IS claiming the New York City truck attack, questions arise on the collapse of the group's self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria

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New York City Attack
The Home Depot Truck being removed after the NYC Attack.VOA.

New York, November 4: Key differences between Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for the New York City truck attack and claims for previous terror attacks have caught the eye of counterterror officials, who are trying to determine what it might mean for the state of terror group.

Most notably, they said, the way in which IS issued the claim failed to follow the group’s usual patterns, raising questions about whether the collapse of the group’s self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria was starting to take a toll.

“One of the soldiers of the Islamic State attacked a number of crusaders on a street in New York City,” the group’s weekly al-Naba newsletter said late Thursday, claiming attacker Sayfullo Saipov, 29, as one of its own.

“This is one of the most prominent attacks to target crusaders in America,” al-Naba continued, adding, “[By] the grace of Allah, the operation instilled fear in crusader America.”

But officials and analysts said that it’s rare for IS to make such a claim first in al-Naba.

“It’s not unprecedented, but it is something we’re not used to,” said Raphael Gluck, an independent researcher.

While considered an official IS channel, al-Naba has traditionally been used to follow up on the group’s initial claims, which often come from its Amaq or Nashir news agencies, in multiple languages, via social media.

Relying on those news agencies this time, however, may not have been possible.

“The Amaq news agency has sputtered in recent weeks, and struggled without a website,” Gluck said.

New York City Truck Attack
Police stand near the New York City Truck Attack. VOA.

Statement wording

There are also questions about how the statement in al-Naba was worded, which also differs from wordings in many previous claims.

“The al-Naba story on the New York attack relies exclusively on outside media reporting of the attacks,” according to an analysis done by Ryan Pereira for the Counter Extremism Project.

“Traditionally, Amaq and al-Naba claims for responsibility include language suggesting that a source close to Amaq or a source close to the Islamic State relayed attack details to the group’s media officials,” Pereira wrote.

Nor did the account in al-Naba offer any evidence to substantiate the group’s claim.

Additionally, it has been rare, though not unprecedented, for IS to claim an attacker as a “soldier of the caliphate” if he is still alive.

Another part of the al-Naba statement that caught the attention of counterterror officials was the way it referred to the deadly October 1 shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more.

Al-Naba described the Las Vegas shooting as “the attack carried out by the mujahid brother Abu Abdul Barr al-Amriki — may Allah accept him — against a large gathering of crusaders.”

It was not the first time IS had claimed the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, as one of its own, referring to him with an Arabic nom de guerre. But so far, investigators have yet to come forward with any evidence that connects him to IS.

Instead, U.S. counterterror officials have cautioned for months that IS is increasingly opportunistic, even desperate, with one official noting the group has been “stepping up its claims of inspired attacks even in cases that do not appear to be connected to the group.”

And, although they admit IS has been been able to adapt to losses and hardships, some see the claim late Thursday for this week’s attack as possibly falling along those lines. (VOA)