The exact motive for Ahmad Khan Rahami’s terror attacks on NYC and Linden, NJ have not been disclosed by authorities. However, handwritten notes and notebooks recovered from the scenes of the crimes have revealed clues. Earlier this week a handwritten note was found near one of the unexploded bombs placed in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood. A notebook, with a bullet hole presumably from Rahami’s shootout with police, was also recovered after his arrest on Monday. The documents show that Rahami ascribed to several different radical ideologies from a variety of different terrorist organizations. The notes also referenced the Boston Bombers.
Many people believe that Rahami may have been influenced by the Boston Marathon bombing that killed 3 civilians and injured 264 others on April 15, 2013. The pressure cooker bombs Rahami used were similar to the explosives used in Boston. Authorities have revealed that the notes do reference the Tsarnaev brothers, the men who carried out the attack, but have not disclosed the exact contents of the messages.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has weighed in on the situation, stating that regardless of his motive it is clear that this was an act of terror. He told reporters:
“We have every reason to believe this was an act of terror,”
Authorities have also revealed that Rahami was an avid consumer of propaganda from several terrorist groups. The notebook was more a jumbled collection of rantings rather than a clear manifesto. It called for “killing of the kufar(non believers)” and also praised Osama Bin Laden, the Tsarnaev brothers, and Anwar Al-Awlaki, one of al-Qaeda’s leading recruiters and propagandists.
It has been made clear that Rahami took several trips to Afghanistan over the course of several years. He would travel to the country for extended periods of time, leaving behind his daughter and girlfriend, to spend time with a second family in Afghanistan. Authorities have not disclosed whether or not Rahami met with terrorists while abroad but it does appear he may have had some instruction based on the quality of the bombs. CNN’s Evan Perez commented on the quality of the explosives by stating:
“However long he’s been trying to make [the bombs], he did have some kind of expertise,”
Investigators have stated they will disclose more information about Rahami’s motives as developments arise.