The FBI believes it has identified the two terrorists seen removing an unexploded bomb from a suitcase left on the street by the Chelsea bomber – before making off with the bag.
Two well-dressed young men were seen on surveillance video removing the bomb from luggage on West 27th Street, Manhattan, at around 8pm on the night of the attack.
They dumped the pressure cooker explosive on the street – which was soon discovered by local New Yorkers who reported it to the police. The terrorists made off with the case.
FBI officials previously said that the two terrorists were not considered suspects, but said that agents were keen to speak to them.
They released surveillance footage still of the terrorists in the hope of tracking down but the fact that they has not come forward to law enforcement is raising suspicions.
The agency has now identified the two terrorists, who are no longer in the U.S., but have not yet released their names.
No further information has been released.
Experts believe that the terrorists may have inadvertently disabled the pressure cooker bomb when they took it out of the rolling suitcase.
As such they may have unknowingly saved dozens of lives in Manhattan by keeping the second explosive from going off on September 17.
The New York bomb squad were able to retrieve and disable it without any damage.
Surveillance footage shows the terrorists walking along the street, and approaching the abandoned suitcase which contained the device.
The pair removed the pressure cooker out of the suitcase, placing it inside a garbage bag and walked away carrying the now empty luggage, according to the report.
Investigators believe the two young terrorists unknowingly switched off the explosive when they took it out of the rolling suitcase, sources said.
‘I think they were more interested in the bag, not what they were taking out,’ Jim Watters, chief of the New York Police Department’s counter terrorism unit, told ABC News , adding that they were ‘very, very lucky’ the bomb didn’t explode.
Jane Schreibman, a 66-year-old photographer who lives on the street, called 911 after finding the pressure cooker device.
She described it to Daily Mail as a large pot with wires coming out of it, connected to another object, with a white bag attached to it.
It was later revealed that the pressure cooker was connected to a phone.
‘Who in this world finds a pressure cooker with a phone and just takes the bag?’ a law enforcement source said.
Terrorist Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was arrested Monday September 19, in Linden, New Jersey, just hours after the FBI published his picture, after a shootout with police.
Fingerprints found on the unexploded pressure cooker device led authorities to Rahami.
He is a suspect in the bombing that left 29 people injured in Chelsea Saturday night and the one that happened earlier in the day in Seaside Park, New Jersey, as well as the attempted bombing in Elizabeth.
When shown the pictures of the men at the scene, Rahami said that he had never seen them in his life while reiterating his belief that his son acted alone.
‘He did everything by himself. He buy everything himself. He order and online he did it by himself,’ Rahami said in broken English.
Ahmad remains hospitalized for his injuries.