‘So many dead’: Survivors describe terrifying Burkina Faso ambush

‘So many dead’: Survivors describe terrifying Burkina Faso ambush
OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – A mine worker shot during an ambush on a mining convoy in Burkina Faso said on Friday he was one of only three survivors from a bus with up to 80 people aboard, suggesting the death toll may be much higher than officially reported.

A fellow survivor gave a similar account of Wednesday’s militant attack on the convoy of five buses, which Burkinabe authorities said killed 38 people and injured 60.

Abel Kabore, 35, described the attackers, some speaking a foreign language and shouting “Allahu Akbar”, – Arabic for “God is great”, raking three buses with bullets after a security vehicle escorting the convoy hit a landmine. The first two buses were able to escape, he said.

“The three buses which were shot…there were so many dead. It was over 100. We were on the ground. We saw everything,” he said quietly at a hospital in the capital Ouagadougou. Of the people on his bus, “only 3 of us survived.”

He said each bus had been carrying 70-80 people. A security source who works in the sector and a worker at the mine had previously said the convoy was likely carrying around 250 people in all, leaving dozens unaccounted for based on the authorities’ casualty list of 38 dead and 60 wounded.

Neither Canadian gold miner Semafo <SMF.TO> nor the Burkinabe authorities have confirmed how many people were in the convoy when it was ambushed on a road leading to the company’s Boungou mine in eastern Burkina Faso.

Neither responded to queries on Friday.

Panicked workers tried to flee the buses during the attack, then desperately scrambled back onboard away from gunmen in the bush, said another wounded survivor, Bakary Sanou.

“People were trying to go back into the buses. I tried to run away into the bush, and saw that they (the attackers) went back onto the buses, opened the doors and tried to kill everyone,” said Sanou, an oversize bandage on his right foot. A mobile phone lay charging next to him on rumpled pink sheets.

IDENTIFYING VICTIMS

Distraught and angry relatives gathered outside the morgue of the Bogodogo District Hospital in Ouagadougou, begging authorities to let them view the bodies.

“I understand the coroner has to carry out their work on the bodies, but they should identify them too,” one man, Ismail Roamba, told Reuters. “The government should allow at least one family member to go and identify a body.”

Public prosecutor Harouna Yoda said the government had opened an investigation into the attack.

It was still unclear who carried out Wednesday’s ambush.

A homegrown, three-year-old insurgency has plunged parts of Burkina Faso into bloodshed, amplified by a spillover of Islamist militant violence and criminality from its chaotic northern neighbor Mali.

In 2016, an Islamist attack on a hotel and restaurant in the capital killed 30 people. A similar assault the next year killed 19 people. In 2018, militants hit the French Embassy and the army headquarters in Ouagadougou, killing 16.

The Boungou mine is located in Burkina Faso’s Eastern region about 355 km (220 miles) from Ouagadougou. Semafo has said the mine site is secured, but it has suspended operations there.

(Additional reporting by David Lewis and Edward McAllister; Writing by Anna Pujol-Mazzini and Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Mark Heinrich)

9/11 We will not forget!

By Kami Klein

On September 11th, 2001, we witnessed the worst of humanity; an evil we could not imagine. Over 3000 lost their lives that day when a group of terrorists shook our nation to its core. The loss of so many rippled throughout the world.  Families were torn apart within a few hours. The grief was unimaginable and America’s heart was broken. 

 After the attacks, countless stories unfolded revealing extraordinary acts of courage, sacrifice, kindness, and compassion. In the aftermath of the World Trade Center in New York City alone over 16.000 people performed rescue, recovery, demolition and debris cleanup.  These amazing men and women did not know or care about the dangers of their task but rose up in tremendous courage to show the best of what America stands for. 

Ground zero contained toxic dust that held heavy metals and asbestos and other dangerous chemicals.  We are seeing the aftermath years later as countless of these heroes of 9/11 have died or are very sick from illnesses related to this tragedy.  Scarring in the lungs has effected hundreds of responders and experts say this is only the beginning.   

So far, 156 New York City police officers have died from 9/11 related illnesses. 182 in the Fire Department. Countless others are facing debilitating lung disease and aggressive cancers. 

We cannot forget those who lost their lives on 9/11.  We cannot forget now, those that are still giving their lives for our country because of that day and the days following 9/11.  

Eighteen years ago, the nation turned to God.  The churches were filled and prayers were said all over the world. We embraced each other no matter what political belief or religious faith. We were not offended by each other because together we were at war with evil. 

We are still at war but somehow we have turned on one another. 

The attack of 9/11 is not over.  Our heroes from that day are the victims now. We must remember those who are still suffering and fill our churches with faith and prayer. We the people of the United States must feel called upon to honor these brave men and women.  May we come together again, as we did on that day when Love won over hate, Good over evil, and all of us remembered that we are Americans and were willing to sacrifice for each other.

The Lord worked through the very best of us that day and continued doing so during the months and years that have passed. In our prayers, in our memories, and in the stories that we must pass on, these are the people and heroes we cannot afford to ever forget!   

 

Frenchman convicted to life in Jewish museum attack, tells jury ‘life goes on!’

By Clement Rossignol

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – French citizen Mehdi Nemmouche was sentenced to life in jail on Monday for shooting dead four people in a Jewish museum in 2014, telling the court “life goes on” in his last words to the jury.

The families of victims and survivors of the attacks voiced relief at the end of a two-month-long jury trial dogged by controversy over what they denounced as conspiracy theories put forward by Nemmouche’s defense lawyers.

Nemmouche, 33, who staged the attack after coming back from Syria, spat out just that one short phrase ahead of the jury’s final deliberation on the length of his penalty on Monday.

Nacer Bendrer, another French citizen being tried as Nemmouche’s accomplice told the court, “I am ashamed to be here … I am ashamed to have crossed paths with this guy. He is not a man, he is a monster.”

The 12-person jury convicted Bendrer to 15 years in prison for acting as an accomplice. He was suspected of providing the weapon used in the shooting.

The attack in May 2014 – the first by a Western European who fought with Islamist militant factions in Syria’s civil war – highlights the threat posed by jihadist returning home.

The shooting killed an Israeli tourist couple, Myriam and Emmanuel Riva, and two employees of the museum, Dominique Sabrier and Alexandre Strens.

In final words, the prosecutor Yves Moreau called on the jury to hand down a tough sentence: “He will get out of jail and he’ll go on another crusade and start killing again,” he was cited by the state broadcaster RTBF as saying on Monday.

Turning to Nemmouche, who was largely impassive and refused to speak during the trial, he took aim at his lack of contrition. “The cherry on the cake: you aren’t even capable of taking responsibility for your acts,” he said.

Nemmouche, 33 – who was radicalized in the jail, according to investigators – is also facing charges in France over his role in holding hostage journalists in Syria.

During the high-profile trial, the two French journalists had testified that they remembered Nemmouche as a deeply anti-Semitic, sadistic and full of hatred.

Defense lawyers, who had alleged that prosecutors doctored video footage of the attack and that Nemmouche was framed in a settling of accounts between spies including Mossad agents, said he would not appeal the sentence.

(Reporting by Clement Rossingnol; Additional by Clare Roth; Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Jan Strupczewski)

Car hits pedestrians in suspected terrorist attack at UK parliament

Armed police officers stand at a cordon after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, Britain, August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

By Kylie MacLellan and Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) – A man deliberately drove a car into London pedestrians and cyclists on Tuesday before ramming it into barriers outside Britain’s parliament in what appeared to be the second terrorist attack at the building in just under 18 months, police said.

Three people were injured. The driver, a man in his 20s, was arrested by armed officers moments later. He was not cooperating with detectives, the British police counter-terrorism chief said.

“Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method, and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident,” the officer, London Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, told reporters.

In March 2017, Khalid Masood, 52, killed four people on nearby Westminster Bridge and stabbed an unarmed police officer to death in the grounds of parliament before being shot dead.

It was the first of five attacks in Britain last year that police designated as terrorism, three of which used vehicles as weapons.

Basu said the suspect in Tuesday’s incident was in custody but not cooperating. He said the man had not been formally identified but was not believed to be known to security forces.

The BBC, citing unnamed sources, said the man was from the Birmingham area and known to police, although not to intelligence or counter-terrorism agencies.

Forensic investigators work at the site after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, Britain, August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Forensic investigators work at the site after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, Britain, August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

NO OTHER SUSPECTS

Basu said there were currently no other suspects from the scene of the incident and no indications of further danger.

Police said a silver Ford Fiesta had driven through a group of cyclists and pedestrians during the morning rush hour before hitting a barrier in front of the Houses of Parliament at 7:37 a.m. (0637 GMT).

Video footage showed the vehicle making an illegal turn before veering across the road and into a security lane leading to parliament before smashing into the protective barrier as two police officers jumped to safety.

The man was detained on suspicion of terrorist offenses and no weapons were found, Basu said.

Two people were taken to the hospital and one woman was still receiving treatment for serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Armed officers swarmed the scene and sealed off a large area around parliament that is usually bustling with tourists and government workers.

“I saw the cyclists, injured cyclists. I don’t know if he’s hit these people or if they’ve just dived to escape,” bystander Jason Williams told reporters. “It didn’t swerve, there was not another car going behind him. It looked like it was planned.”

Images shot by a Euronews journalist showed police pointing their guns at the vehicle shortly after the crash. Footage on social media showed a man being led away in handcuffs.

“TERRIBLE SCENES”

Prime Minister Theresa May, who like other lawmakers is on holiday during parliament’s summer recess, urged Britons to remain vigilant but to carry on as normal.

“For the second time in as many years the home of our democracy, which is a potent symbol of our precious values of tolerance and freedom, has just witnessed terrible scenes just yards from its door,” she said in a statement.

Britain is on its second-highest threat level, “severe”, meaning an attack is considered highly likely.

May’s spokesman said that, since Masood’s attack in Westminster last year, 13 Islamist and four far-right plots had been foiled. At the end of June, security services were carrying out 676 live investigations.

Last week, a Muslim convert admitted plotting to kill more than 100 people by driving a truck into pedestrians on London’s Oxford Street, the capital’s major shopping thoroughfare.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has previously spoken out about security issues in London, tweeted: “These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength.”

Cordons around parliament began to be lifted about six hours after the incident and Westminster Underground station, close to parliament, was reopened. However, streets immediately surrounding the scene remained closed off.

(Additional reporting by Michael Holden, James Davey, Alistair Smout and Paul SandleWriting by William Schomberg; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Christian family shot dead in southwestern Pakistan

Christian cross-

By Gul Yousafzai

QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) – Four members of a Christian family were gunned down in southwestern Pakistan on Monday, police said, in the latest attack on the minority community.

The family was traveling in a rickshaw when armed men on a motorcycle intercepted them and opened fire in Quetta city, the capital of Baluchistan province.

A woman was rushed to hospital. Her father and three cousins were killed.

“It appears to have been a targeted attack,” provincial police official Moazzam Jah Ansari told Reuters. “It was an act of terrorism.”

The attack comes a day after Pakistan’s Christian community celebrated Easter on Sunday. Around 2 percent of Pakistan’s population are Christians.

Minority religious festivals are a security concern in the majority Sunni Muslim country where there have been a number of high casualty attacks on Christians and Shi’ite Muslims.

Baluchistan, a region bordering Iran as well as Afghanistan, is plagued by violence by Sunni Islamist sectarian groups linked to the Taliban, al Qaeda and Islamic State. It also has an indigenous ethnic Baloch insurgency fighting against central government.

In December, a week before Christmas, two suicide bombers stormed a packed Christian church in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 10 people and wounding up to 56, in an attack claimed by Islamic State.

The family killed on Monday had come to visit relatives in Quetta’s Shahzaman road area, where a large number of the city’s Christian community lives.

Rome’s ancient Colosseum was lit in red for an evening in February in solidarity with persecuted Christians, particularly Asia Bibi, a Catholic woman who has been living on death row in Pakistan since 2010, when she was condemned for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Islam.

(Writing by Saad Sayeed; Editing by Alison Williams)

Egypt’s military says kills 53 militants in week-long offensive

Egyptian Army's Armoured Vehicles are seen on a highway to North Sinai during a launch of a major assault against militants, in Ismailia, Egypt, in this undated handout picture made available by the Ministry of Defence February 9, 2018. Ministry of Defence/Handout via REUTERS

By Nadine Awadalla

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s military and police forces have killed a total of 53 Islamist militants and arrested 680 suspects in a week-long offensive to crush insurgents that is focused on the Sinai Peninsula, a military spokesman said on Thursday.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is seeking re-election in March, ordered the armed forces in November to defeat militants within three months after an attack on a mosque in Sinai killed more than 300 people.

The attack was the deadliest of its kind in Egypt, which is the Arab world’s most populous country and a main regional ally of the United States.

The security operation, which involves the army, navy, air force and police, began last Friday and targeted “terrorist and criminal elements and organizations” in north and central Sinai, parts of the Nile delta and the western desert, Colonel Tamer al-Rifai told a news conference broadcast on state television on Thursday.

He said forces have destroyed over 1000 kg (2205 lbs) of explosives, 378 militant hideouts and weapon storage facilities including a media center used by the militants.

He added that 680 people, some of them suspected militants or wanted criminals, were also detained in the operation.

The air force, which has carried out more than 100 airstrikes in northern and central Sinai since the operation began, has focused on militant hideouts outside residential areas to avoid hitting civilians, air force Brigadier General Alaa Dawara said.

Major General Yasser Abdel Aziz of the Military Operations Authority said the operation would end when Sinai was free of “terrorists”.

“It could be extended or shortened according to the situation and that is what will be determined in the coming days,” Abdel Aziz told journalists.

He said after the military operation, Egyptian authorities would push ahead with a comprehensive development plan for Sinai.

Outside the peninsula, the Egyptian military said the operation would cover parts of the Nile Delta and the Western Desert, where other militants have waged attacks, some believed to be staged out of neighboring Libya.

The insurgency poses the greatest challenge to the government in a country that is both the most populous in the Arab World and a main regional ally of the United States.

Islamist insurgents have been targeting security forces since 2013 when the army led by Sisi, then the army chief, ousted President Mohamed Mursi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, following mass protests against his rule.

Some local residents have raised concerns over food and medicine shortages in the peninsula after the army blocked all access to the area.

Rifai said the armed forces has cooperated closely with local authorities to coordinate the delivery of food, medical assistance and other supplies in compliance with local and international laws and human rights norms.

(Reporting by Nadine Awadalla and Ahmed Tolba; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

Accused NYC bomber to formally face terrorism charges as soon as Wednesday

Accused NYC bomber to formally face terrorism charges as soon as Wednesday

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Bangladeshi man accused of attempting a suicide bombing in one of New York City’s busiest commuter hubs is expected to be formally charged as early as Wednesday with supporting a foreign terrorist organization and other crimes.

Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old supporter of the radical group Islamic State, will appear from Bellevue Hospital before a judge via video conference as soon as Wednesday, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office. He is recovering from injuries he suffered when his homemade bomb ignited but failed to detonate.

Three people suffered minor injuries when Ullah attempted to detonate a pipe bomb secured to his midsection in a pedestrian tunnel under the sprawling Port Authority transportation complex, where many commuters from New York’s suburbs arrive on buses and transfer to local subways.

Officials have declined to describe Ullah’s condition.

“I did it for the Islamic State,” Ullah told police who interviewed him after the blast, according to papers filed by federal prosecutors on Tuesday.

Ullah, who has lived in the United States since 2011, began his self-radicalization in 2014 when he started viewing pro-Islamic State materials online, prosecutors said. He carried out his attack because he was angry over U.S. policies in the Middle East, they said.

Inside Ullah’s passport, which was recovered from his home, were handwritten notes, including one that read, “O AMERICA, DIE IN YOUR RAGE.”

Bangladesh’s counter-terrorism chief told Reuters on Wednesday that his country had found no evidence linking the suspect to militants in his home country.

“We have collected evidence and information from his family members: his wife, father-in-law and mother-in-law,” Monirul Islam, head of the Bangladesh police’s counter-terrorism unit, said in an interview. “In Bangladesh we have not found any connection or have not been able to identify any of his associates who were or are involved with any terrorist groups.”

His attack was the latest inspired by militants to hit the largest U.S. city. In October an Uzbek immigrant killed eight people by racing a rental truck down a bike bath.

In October, an Afghan-born U.S. citizen was convicted of planting two bombs in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood in 2016, one of which exploded and wounded 30 people.

(Reporting by Brendan Pierson and Daniel Trotta; Additional reporting by Krishna N. Das and Serajul Quadir in Dhaka; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

New York subway attack shows limits of counterterror strategy

New York subway attack shows limits of counterterror strategy

By Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Minutes after a man set off a pipe bomb strapped to his body in one of New York’s busiest transit hubs, throwing the Monday morning commute into chaos for many, a suspect was in custody, trains were rerouted and throngs of police swarmed the streets.

The massive response exposed the limits of the antiterrorism force the city has built since the deadly attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has learned to respond quickly and effectively to attacks but faces an almost impossible task in trying to thwart every threat, particularly the acts of “lone wolves” targeting public places and New York’s vast transit system.

Nearly 6 million people ride New York’s subway each day, entering at any one of the system’s 472 stations – more stops than any other in the world.

That open access is partly what allows U.S. train systems to carry five times as many passengers as airlines but also leaves unique security vulnerabilities, according to a Congressional Research Service report earlier this year.

“You can’t search everyone entering a subway system, particularly a system the size of the one in New York,” said Tom Nolan, a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security analyst who is now a professor of criminology at Merrimack College in Massachusetts.

No one was killed in Monday’s attack, and the person most severely injured was the accused bomber, whom police identified as Akayed Ullah, 27.

New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo sounded relieved when he told reporters that just three other people had been slightly hurt in the attack.

“When you hear about a bomb in the subway station, which is in many ways one of our worst nightmares, the reality turns out better than the initial expectation and fear,” Cuomo said.

He had reason to expect worse: Suicide bombers killed 52 people in on London subways and a bus system in 2005, 40 people were killed in the 2010 bombing of the Moscow subway and last year 32 died in coordinated attacks on Brussels’ subway and airport.

“This is a fact of life, whether you’re in New York or London or Paris,” New York Police Department counterterrorism chief John Miller told reporters. “It can happen anywhere.”

DOGS, CAMERAS AND WEAPONS

A network of cameras blankets almost all of New York’s subway system, which sprawls over 665 miles (1,070 km) of tracks. The New York City Police Department uses radiation detectors to search for “dirty” bombs, which combine a traditional explosive with radioactive material, said Anthony Roman, a private security consultant who is familiar with NYPD antiterrorism efforts.

Undercover and uniformed police patrol the system, along with bomb-sniffing dogs, random screening posts and heavily armed tactical officers.

The city’s Joint Terrorism Task Force collects intelligence from overseas, and cameras equipped with facial and license plate recognition can help investigators track suspects in real time, Roman said.

But attempting to screen every passenger, as airports do using metal detectors and body scanners, is an impossible task and would only create more opportunities for attacks by causing crowding.

“They will never be 100 percent,” Roman said. “The goal is to prevent and deter the vast majority of events, and for those few that occur, minimize their effect by quick, coordinated, interdepartmental response.”

The NYPD’s Miller said intelligence had stopped at least 26 plots since 2001. But the proliferation of so-called “lone wolf” attackers, who are self-radicalized and not working with an overseas militant group, has made it harder to do so, experts said.

Both Ullah and Sayfullo Saipov, accused of killing eight people on a Manhattan bike lane with a rented truck in the name of Islamic State, appear to have acted alone, according to authorities.

“When you have lone attackers, it’s much more difficult,” said Max Leitschuh, the senior transportation analyst at the risk management and security consulting company iJET International.

Following Monday’s attack, cities including Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles increased security for their mass transit systems.

Ultimately, those efforts are mostly about reassuring the public, said Maria Haberfeld, an expert in police counterterrorism and a professor at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“You have to accept it,” said Haberfeld, who served in a counterterrorist unit in the Israel Defense Forces. “You can only put so many barriers out there before you abandon the idea of an open society.”

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)

New York charges Times Square bomb suspect; Bangladesh questions wife

New York charges Times Square bomb suspect; Bangladesh questions wife

By Ruma Paul and Daniel Trotta

DHAKA/NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York officials on Tuesday said they charged a Bangladeshi man with terrorism, accusing him of setting off a pipe bomb a day earlier in a crowded Manhattan commuter hub, as investigators in his home country questioned his wife.

Akayed Ullah, 27, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, supporting an act of terrorism, and making a terroristic threat under New York state law, the New York Police Department said, adding U.S. authorities may also bring federal charges.

Investigators in Bangladesh were questioning Ullah’s wife, according to two officials who declined to be identified as they were not permitted to discuss the matter publicly. They did not provide details on the questioning, but said the couple have a six-month-old baby boy.

“We have found his wife and in-laws in Dhaka. We are interviewing them,” one of the police officials told Reuters.

New York police say Ullah set off a pipe bomb in an underground corridor of the subway system that connects Times Square to the Port Authority Bus Terminal at rush hour on Monday morning, injuring himself and three others.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called it an attempted terrorist attack, and U.S. officials said it appeared to be a rare if not unprecedented attempt at suicide bombing on U.S. soil.

Ullah survived with burns and lacerations and was taken to hospital in police custody. The three bystanders sustained minor injuries.

The NYPD and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were conducting the investigation in conjunction with other agencies through the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and were asking the public for any information about the suspect.

Authorities in Bangladesh began to track down Ullah’s family soon after news of the attack broke and they first found a cousin, said a third official, Mahiuddin Mahmud.

“We learned from his cousin that he had a wife and a baby in Bangladesh,” Mahmud said.

The cousin, Emdad Ullah, told Reuters that Ullah and his family originally lived in the Chittagong region in southern Bangladesh, but had moved to the capital, Dhaka, years ago.

Ullah married a Bangladeshi woman about two years ago and she lived in Dhaka, the cousin said, adding that he was educated in Bangladesh before he moved to the United States.

Bangladesh’s police chief had told Reuters on Monday that Ullah had no criminal record in his home country, which he last visited in September.

Ullah lived with his mother, sister and two brothers in Brooklyn and was a green card holder, said Shameem Ahsan, consul general of Bangladesh in New York.

A U.S. enforcement official familiar with the investigation into Monday’s attack said officers had found evidence that Ullah had watched Islamic State propaganda on the internet.

IMMIGRATION REFORM

Bangladesh strongly condemned the attack.

“A terrorist is a terrorist irrespective of his or her ethnicity or religion, and must be brought to justice,” the government said in a statement.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said the attack emphasized the need for U.S. immigration reforms.

“America must fix its lax immigration system, which allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access our country,” he said in a statement.

The president also criticized the visa program that allowed Ullah to enter the United States in 2011 because he had family members already in the country, saying such family visas are “incompatible with national security.”

H.T. Imam, a political adviser to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said he believed the attack would have no “negative impact” on relations with the United States.

“The U.S. government is well informed about the Bangladesh government’s attitude regarding terror activities,” Imam said.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week handed a victory to Trump by allowing his latest travel ban, targeting people from six Muslim-majority countries, to go into full effect even as legal challenges continued in lower courts.

The ban covers people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen seeking to enter the United States. Trump has said the travel ban is needed to protect the United States from terrorism by Islamist militants.

Bangladesh is not among the countries impacted by the ban.

(Additional reporting by Serajul Quadir; Writing by Euan Rocha and Daniel Trotta; Editing by Scott Malone and Bernadette Baum)

Explosion rocks New York commuter hub, one suspect in custody

Police and fire crews block off the streets near the New York Port Authority in New York City, U.S. December 11, 2017 after reports of an explosion.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An explosion rocked New York’s Port Authority, one of the city’s busiest commuter hubs, on Monday morning and police said one suspect was injured and in custody but that no-one else was hurt in the rush-hour incident.

Police confirmed one person was in custody but were not yet identifying the device used. Local news channel WABC cited police sources as saying a possible pipe bomb detonated in a passageway below ground at Port Authority and WPIX cited sources as saying a man with a “possible second device” has been detained in the subway tunnel.

The bus terminal was temporarily closed, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said in a Twitter statement.

“There was a stampede up the stairs to get out,” said Diego Fernandez, one of the commuters at Port Authority. “Everybody was scared and running and shouting.”

Commuters exit the New York Port Authority in New York City, U.S. December 11, 2017 after reports of an explosion.

Commuters exit the New York Port Authority in New York City, U.S. December 11, 2017 after reports of an explosion. REUTERS/Edward Tobin

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and President Donald Trump have been briefed on the incident, according to local media and the White House.

News of the incident jarred financial markets as trading was getting underway for the week. Standard  Poor’s 500 index emini futures pared gains, the dollar weakened against the yen and U.S. Treasury securities prices gained on a modest flight-to-safety bid.

The incident occurred less than two months after an Uzbek immigrant killed eight people by speeding a rental truck down a New York City bike path, in an attack for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.

In September 2016, a man injured more than two dozen people when he set off a homemade bomb in New York’s Chelsea district.

(Reporting By Nick Zieminski and Simon Webb in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)