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Update: New York bombing suspect Rahami captured in New Jersey

Officials believe more people were involved

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By Joseph Ax and Mica Rosenberg, Reuters

ELIZABETH, N.J. — An Afghanistan-born American sought in connection with a series of bombings that wounded 29 people in the New York City area over the weekend was in custody after a gun battle with police on Monday, a New Jersey mayor said.

Ahmad Khan Rahami of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was captured after firing at police officers in Linden, New Jersey, about 20 miles (32 km) outside New York, Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage said. Two officers were shot, one in the hand and the other in a bulletproof vest, he said.

“Mr. Rahami also sustained shots and an ambulance has taken him away,” Bollwage said.

Video from WABC television showed a conscious man described as Rahami on a gurney and being loaded into an ambulance.

Investigators believe more people were involved in the New York and New Jersey bombing plots, two U.S. officials told Reuters.

Earlier on Monday, New York Police had released a photo of Rahami, 28, and said they wanted to question him about a Saturday night explosion in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and for a blast earlier that day in Seaside Park, New Jersey, authorities said.

In addition to the two incidents, officials are probing a backpack containing bombs found in a New Jersey train station on Sunday, and an unexploded pressure-cooker bomb located blocks away from the Chelsea blast site.

No one was injured in the other blasts.

As reports of Rahami being taken in custody were being released, U.S. President Barack Obama said he saw no connection between the explosions and a separate weekend incident where a man stabbed nine people at a mall in central Minnesota before being shot dead.

He said authorities are investigating the stabbing as a potential act of terrorism.

The man in the Minnesota incident was described a “soldier of the Islamic State,” the militant group’s news agency said on Sunday.

(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg in Elizabeth, Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Scott Malone and Alan Crosby)

Previous story —

NEW YORK — Authorities have identified a suspect in the Manhattan explosion case as a 28-year-old New Jersey resident of Afghan descent who may be armed and dangerous, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday.

The New York Police Department released a photo of Ahmad Khan Rahami, who was wanted for questioning in the Saturday night explosions in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, de Blasio said on CNN.

“He could be armed and dangerous,” de Blasio said, warning that residents should be vigilant and report sightings to authorities.

In Elizabeth, New Jersey, on Monday, the FBI was executing a search warrant, Mayor Christian Bollwage told CNN earlier.

“They will be there for the next few hours, going through this location to find any evidence possible, whether it’s in relation to this incident or the Chelsea incident,” he said.

An explosive device left near a train station in Elizabeth, blew up earlier on Monday when a bomb squad robot cut a wire on the mechanism, one of as many as five potential bombs found at the site, the city’s mayor said.

No one was injured in the blast that followed a series of attacks in the United States over the weekend, including the Saturday night bombing that hurt 29 people in Manhattan.

The device had been left in a backpack placed in a trash can near a train station and a bar, Bollwage told reporters earlier.

As many as five potential explosive devices tumbled out of the backpack when it was emptied, Bollwage said. After cordoning off the area, a bomb squad used a robot to cut a wire to try to disable the device, but inadvertently set off an explosion, he said.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the investigation was focusing on a person of interest in the case.

“The evidence might suggest a foreign connection,” Cuomo said in television interviews on Monday morning.

The Chelsea blast followed a pipe bomb explosion on Saturday morning along the route of a running race in the New Jersey beach town of Seaside Park. No one was injured in that blast.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles, Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey in Washington; Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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