U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker, sitting in a federal courthouse in Manhattan, communicated with Ullah via video shown on several monitors in the courtroom.
Ullah chose the location where the device exploded because of its Christmas-themed posters, recalling strikes in Europe against Christmas markets, he told investigators, and set off the bomb in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and elsewhere, several law enforcement officials said, according to The New York Times.
According to the complaint, Ullah posted on his Facebook account on his way to carry out the Monday morning attack: "Trump you failed to protect your nation".
The authorities termed it a planned terror attack. About a year ago, he began plotting a suicide attack to avenge USA policies in the Middle East, and three weeks ago he started gathering materials for the pipe bomb he built in his Brooklyn apartment and strapped to his body on Monday, according to the criminal complaint.
At a news conference, Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said Ullah picked a rush hour on a weekday to maximize casualties in his quest "to kill, to maim and to destroy". He said Ullah entered the busy pedestrian tunnel with a "hateful heart and and evil goal", and he vowed that Ullah will face justice.
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Kamal Bhuiyan, chairman of the Bangladeshi American Advocacy Group, said it would be unfair to hold the entire community responsible for the actions of one person.
Ullah was given a five-count indictment on December 12 including providing material support to a terrorist group, use of a weapon of mass destruction, and three bomb-related counts.
The 27-year-old was arrested after setting off a pipe bomb strapped to his body at one of New York's busiest commuter hubs, which left four people injured.
Whether Ullah triggered the bomb intentionally in a pedestrian tunnel at the Port Authority bus terminal, or if the device malfunctioned, has not been established. Port Authority police officers arrested him, finding a nine-volt battery in his trousers pocket with wires connected to it that ran underneath his jacket, plastic zip ties, fragments of metal pipe, remnants of Christmas tree lights attached to wires, and metal screws, the complaint says.
John Miller, the police department's deputy commissioner for counterterrorism and intelligence, told reporters a pipe bomb was "affixed" to the suspect "with a combination of Velcro and zip ties".
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Law enforcement officials work following an explosion near New York's Times Square on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. They say he boarded the F train at the 18th Avenue station in Borough Park at 6:25 a.m. and took to the Jay Street station in Downtown Brooklyn, where he switched to the A for the ride to the Port Authority.
According to prosecutors, he began dabbling in ISIS propaganda online about three years ago and became radicalized. There was also a remnant of what appeared to be a Christmas tree light bulb attached to the wires.
In reaction to the bombing, the Republican president demanded a tightening of immigration rules that allowed Ullah to enter the country in 2011 on a visa available to certain relatives of US citizens. NY officials on Tuesday also filed state charges against Ullah, as investigators in his home country questioned his wife.
Police spoke with Ullah's family in Brooklyn's Flatlands section.
"There have now been two terrorist attacks in New York City in recent weeks carried out by foreign nationals here on green cards", Trump said. A teenage relative was pulled out of class and questioned in school without a parent, guardian or lawyer, the statement said.
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Bangladeshi national Akayed Ullah who was arrested in connection with the terror attack near Times Square in NY has been charged with three offences. He said Ullah wasn't on the NYPD's or the FBI's radar before Monday's incident.