Akayed Ullah, 27, detonated a homemade bomb strapped to his body at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Monday.
At least four family members of Manhattan blast suspect Akayed Ullah were questioned by the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Akayed is currently being held by law enforcement officials in the US on suspicion of detonating an “improvised low-tech explosive device” inside a New York City subway passageway on Monday morning, injuring himself and three other people.
A senior NYPD official told NBC News that Ullah had told investigators he was angry over the killing of Muslims around the world and had attempted the attack “in the name of ISIS”.
On Tuesday, Akayed’s maternal cousin, Wahedujjaman Jahed, told the Dhaka Tribune that law enforcers in Dhaka had taken four relatives of Akayed into custody after the Zohr prayers.
The four relatives – Akayed’s cousin Abdul Ahad, his wife Jannatul Ferdous Jui, father-in-law Julfikar Haider, and mother-in-law Mahafuza Akhter – were released at 8:45pm, after six-and half hours of marathon questioning at the CTTC unit on Minto Road, confirms the unit’s Additional Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Saiful Islam.
“We have not been detained but only being questioned about Akayed,” maternal uncle Abdul Ahad said.
Meanwhile, Akayed’s cousin Jahed told the Dhaka Tribune that Akayed used to stay with his in-laws at Tannery Mor in Hazaribagh whenever he came to Bangladesh.
“Akayed was married to Jui around one-and-a-half years ago and the couple have a seven-month old child,” Jahed said.
Chittagong Superintendent of Police Nur-E-Alam Mina informed the Dhaka Tribune that Akayed’s family were originally from Sandwip but left soon after the 1971 Liberation War to live at Hazaribagh in the capital city.
SP Mina said he had received reports that Akayed visited his grandmother in Sandwip’s Gasua area as recently as a few months ago.
“We have come to know that the suspect lived in Dhaka before migrating to the US and had visited his ancestral home a few months ago,” the SP said.
“The local police station is collecting information about Akayed and his family. We have contacted his uncle Tuchan Company and cousin Sohrab.”
Abu Taher, a member of Muchapur Union Parishad in Sandwip upazila, said Akayed Ullah had last visited the area on September 8 this year.
Postmaster Kamal Uddin, a neighbour in Akayed’s ancestral home in Musapur Union, said that Akayed’s father, Sanaullah Mia, was a freedom fighter.
Other villagers confirmed that Akayed Ullah was born and raised in Dhaka but went to the US in 2011 on a visa available to certain relatives of US citizens.
“His father Sanaullah left Sandwip at the age of 22 and went to Dhaka. He got married here and his son Akayed Ullah was born in Dhaka,” a villager who wished to remain unnamed told UNB.
“Sanaullah passed away two years back in New York. He was buried there.”
Dhaka Tribune visited the neighbourhood in Dhaka’s Hazaribagh area where Akayed’s family lived before going to the US.
Bablu, the owner of a house once rented by Akayed’s family, told the Dhaka Tribune that the family members were “decent”.
“There was nothing unusual in their behaviour,” he said.
According to Akayed’s relatives, he grew up in Hazaribagh like any of the other kids in the area. He completed his SSC from Kakoli School and HSC from Birshreshtha Munshi Abdur Rouf Public College. Akayed was doing his undergraduate in BBA from Dhaka City College when he moved to the US with his family.