By Ashley Soley-Cerro
NEW YORK (PIX11) — At least four people are hurt, including a suspected bomber who is in custody, after a pipe bomb exploded in what’s being called an attempted terrorist attack below the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Monday.
The explosion created “a lot of chaos” as commuters fled from the usually bustling transit hub at the height of the morning commute.
The blast occurred about 7:30 a.m. near West 42th Street and Eighth Avenue, police said.
“This was an attempted terrorist attack,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals.”
Akayed Ullah has been identified by Police Commissioner James O’Neill as the suspected bomber. He is believed to have intentionally detonated a device strapped to his body using velcro and zip ties.
When asked if the suspect claimed to be connected with ISIS, the commissioner said he “made statements” but would not confirm whether the bombing is linked to the terror group.
Three people who were in the immediate area of the explosion sustained minor injuries, such as headaches and ringing in their ears, officials said.
Trains bypassed Port Authority Bus Terminal and Times Square following the blast.
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In less than two hours, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said lines were “totally up to speed.”
Immediately after the explosion, the A, C and E subway lines were evacuated, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal was temporarily closed.
A witness said he heard two explosions as he was exiting a bus at about 7:45 a.m.
“From what I saw it sounded like it came from the subway, but I’m just guessing,” Francisco Ramirez told CNN. “It was two distinct explosions seconds from each other. As I was making my way toward the outside, I kept getting shoved by cops and there were cops at every entrance blocking and there was police and SWAT everywhere.”
Ramirez said he distinctly heard the blasts although he was wearing headphones.
“It was scary. It was just a lot of chaos, but I didn’t see any injuries.”
If you are unable to reach someone who may have been impacted by the incident today, NYC’s Office of Emergency Management says to call 311.