Manhattan blast suspect Akayed Ullah asked his wife to read books written by the leader of a banned militant group, the head of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit (CTTC) said on Wednesday.
The special police unit is yet to find any direct link between Akayed and a militant organization or political group in his native Bangladesh, however, with the unit’s chief suggesting Akayed could be a “Lone Wolf” who engaged in terrorist activities independently.
“We have not found any link between Akayed and a local militant organization or any political party,” Monirul Islam said while speaking to reporters at Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Media Centre on Wednesday.
“The suspect could have been radicalized after being exposed to contents that promote extremism through the internet while in America.”
Monirul said the Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies are unofficially cooperating with US counterparts over the reported terrorist attack in New York City on Monday, in which Akayed and five others were injured.
“The information gleaned from his relatives during interrogation is still being scrutinized,” Monirul said.
Monirul said that during her interrogation, Akayed’s wife had described her husband as “a very quiet person who mostly kept to himself”.
However, she told the police that Akayed asked her to read books written by Jasim Uddin Rahmani, the head of the banned militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team [which later renamed as Ansar al Islam], when he visited his family this September.
When Akayed visited Bangladesh, he spent most of his time with his child and some close family members, Akayed’s wife is reported to have said during questioning.
Adding that Akayed had no prior criminal record in Bangladesh, Monirul said the suspect immigrated to the US in 2011, dropping out from a bachelors’ of business administration program under the Dhaka City College [National University affiliated].
“The Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies are making a serious effort to uncover the truth behind this incident, and are ready to extend full cooperation to the US authorities,” the CTTC chief.
US and New York State prosecutors on Tuesday brought separate charges against Akayed Ullah, accusing him of using a weapon of mass destruction in the bombing at a Manhattan commuter hub on Monday.
He was charged in a criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, bombing a public place, destruction of property by means of explosive and use of a destructive device.
Akayed told police interviewers after the blast that “I did it for the Islamic State,” according to court papers filed by federal prosecutors.