(CNN)Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspect in this weekend's New York City and New Jersey terrorist attacks, is in many ways quite typical of jihadist terrorists in the United States since 9/11.
He is an American citizen, not a foreigner, a refugee or a recent immigrant.That is overwhelmingly the profile of the approximately 360 jihadist terrorists who have been indicted or convicted in the States since 9/11 of crimes ranging in seriousness from sending small sums of money to an overseas terrorist organization to murder. According to research by New America, 80% of these militants are American citizens or legal permanent residents.
They are also not the young hotheads of popular imagination. Their average age is 28, a third are married and a third have children. Rahami, age 28, is married and has a daughter.
FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney said Monday there is no evidence that Rahami was part of a cell, which also makes him also a typical American terrorist. Every lethal terrorist attack since 9/11 has been carried out by a so-called "lone wolf" or a pair of terrorists who were not part of a larger cell.
Indeed, in many ways Rahami is almost exactly like Omar Mateen, who killed 49 at an Orlando nightclub in June. Mateen was a 29-year-old married father and an American citizen of Afghan descent born in New York who carried out his plot by himself.In many ways Rahami is almost exactly like Omar Mateen, who killed 49 at an Orlando nightclub in June.
The bomb that went off in the Chelsea neighborhood this past weekend, injuring 29, is the first jihadist terrorist attack in Manhattan since 9/11.Similarities to Boston bombing
The bomb device in Chelsea was almost identical to those used in the Boston Marathon attacks three years ago. Pressure cookers were used to house the devices; shrapnel was added to increase the lethality of the charges, and Christmas lights were used to initiate the explosions, according to law enforcement officials.
Terrorist groups have posted these recipes online.
Just as is often the case in school shootings, jihadist terrorists also study previous attacks and it's interesting to note the close match between the Boston bombs and the device used in Chelsea. Adding to the similarities to the Boston attack, a pipe bomb in Seaside, New Jersey, that Rahami is believed to have planted also targeted a running event, a Marine Corps charity run, but the device didn't injure anyone when it detonated on Saturday. Also, a notebook used by Rahami had jottings about the Boston bombers.
Of course, a major difference with the Boston Marathon bombing is that Rahami did not succeed in killing his victims. Unlike the Boston Marathon bombers, Rahami did not place his bomb directly on the street in Chelsea where it could inflict significant damage, but instead put his inside a dumpster, which largely contained the blast. This was a rookie error.
Rahami also used the peroxide-based bomb ingredient HMTD, which is rarely used by terrorists because it is both unstable and not as powerful as another peroxide-based explosive, TATP.
The US Department of Homeland Security says that one of the few terrorists in the States to have tried to launch an HMTD-bomb attacks is Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian al-Qaeda member living in Canada. Ressam built an HMTD-based bomb in Canada that he planned to detonate at Los Angeles International Airport in December 1999. Ressam was arrested at a U.S. border crossing before he could carry out his plan.
Terrorists have been more successful with the more powerful peroxide-based bomb TATP, which was used in the London transportation bombings in 2005 in which al-Qaeda directed suicide attackers killed 52 commuters.
Najibullah Zazi---like Rahami also a US citizen of Afghan descent---was also trained by al Qaeda in Pakistan in 2009 to build TATP-based bombs and, together with two American friends that he had grown up with in Queens, New York., Zazi planned to detonate these bombs in the Manhattan subway around the eight anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Luckily, a tip from British intelligence led to the uncovering of Zazi and his two co-conspirators just days before they planned to launch their attacks.
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