FIND THEM: 2 Men Left Unexploded Bomb on Chelsea Street, FBI Says
The FBI is looking for the two men it says left a second, undetonated bomb in Chelsea Saturday — the same night an explosion linked to suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami injured 29 people.
The two men, whose identities are not known, located a piece of luggage on the sidewalk along West 27th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, removed an improvised explosive device from the luggage and then left the area, the FBI says.
It is not clear if the men will be considered suspects. For now, the FBI has described them as witnesses only.
The FBI released a surveillance image of the two men taken the same hour an explosive device went off on West 23rd Street.
The FBI is interested in talking to the men and getting the luggage, and asks anyone with information about the men to contact them at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).
It's not yet clear whether the men may have any connection to Rahami, the man authorities have said is responsible for the Chelsea explosion as well as others in Seaside Park and Elizabeth over the last few days.
At an briefing by New York Police and FBI officials mid-day Wednesday, authorities said Rahami — captured Monday after a shootout with Linden Police — was still recovering from his injuries, and had not yet been cleared to be interviewed. They said interviews might happen within the day.
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Federal prosecutors say Rahami bought components online and recorded a video of himself igniting a blast in a backyard. They say he vowed in a handwritten jihad journal that "the sounds of bombs will be heard in the streets."
The blasts came two years after the FBI looked into him but found nothing tying him to terrorism.
Also on Wednesday: A New York Police Department deputy commissioner says federal investigators are likely reviewing their previous contacts with Rahami, But he says it does not appear that anything was missed.
John Miller, the deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, told the House Homeland Security Committee Rahami "seems like many suspects who come into contact with the system at various times" and was handled "to the extent ... that law would allow."
As previously reported, Rahami has a criminal record out of Elizabeth, where he was last known to live with his family above the chicken restaurant it owned. He had been accused of stabbing his brother in an altercation in 2014, though a grand jury didn't hand up charges. He also allegedly violated a restraining order for domestic violence earlier.
Also two years ago, Rahami's father warned the FBI his son might have terror ties but later recanted.
Miller in his testimony Wednesday said a single report that does not generate more information about a potential threat or crime would not allow authorities to follow or investigate a person or their associates indefinitely.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch says the Justice Department intends in the "near future" to bring Rahami to New York to face charges in Saturday night's bombing. He has been charged in New Jersey and by the federeral government.
Lynch, speaking Wednesday at an International Bar Association conference, said she has full confidence in prosecutors' ability to bring Rahami "to justice for his heinous actions." She says the existing charges reflect the Justice Department's "unwavering determination to finding, capturing and prosecuting all those who attempt to commit or commit acts of terror against our nation."
A judge has granted temporary sole custody to the mother of Rahami's child, who has described the terror suspect as a deadbeat father and said he was "standoffish" to American culture.
A New Jersey judge on Tuesday granted the woman's request, which cited the ongoing terror investigation.
A judge approved a visitation agreement between the two in May 2014, ordering that the child spend Christmas and Thanksgiving with the mother and the Muslim holy days Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha with Rahami.
— Reporting by the Associated Press was used in this story