Ahmad Khan Rahami, accused of planting and detonating bombs in New York and New Jersey, appeared in court for the first time Monday.
Rahami is suspected of detonating a bomb in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan last September, which injured more than 30 people (none seriously) as well as a bomb that exploded on the route of a Marine Corps charity race in Seaside Park, New Jersey. Due to a delay in the race, no one was injured.
A third unexploded bomb was found in Manhattan not far from the Chelsea bomb.
Rahami was hospitalized in critical condition after being shot multiple times in shootout with police outside a bar in Linden, NJ.
He previously entered a plea of not guilty via a video hookup from his hospital bed in Newark.
After the shootout, police officers recovered a journal containing Islamist rhetoric and praise for known terrorist groups and ideologies.
“I looked for guidance came Sheikh Anwar, Brother Adnani, Dawla. Said it clearly – Attack the kuffar (non-believer) in the back yard,” Rahami wrote, referencing American al-Qaeda ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike in 2011 and Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al Adnani, who was killed in August. (Dawla is an honorific term for a ruler or senior statesman.)
Adnani issued frequent calls to Westerners to carry out terrorist attacks within their home countries. Rahami also wrote, “The sounds of bombs will be heard in the streets.”
Rahami is charged with five counts of attempted murder of a police officer as well as weapons offenses. He was not offered any plea bargains.
Rahami was born in Afghanistan and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.