ISIS-Inspired NYC Bomber Sentenced to Life In Prison

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11: New York City Police Department officers stand guard near the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal, December 11, 2017 in New York City. The Police Department said that one person, Akayed Ullah, was in custody for an attempted terror attack after an explosion in a passageway linking the Port Authority Bus Terminal with the subway. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
April 22, 2021

An ISIS-inspired Brooklyn man who detonated a bomb on the New York City subway in 2017 was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday.

Akayed Ullah, originally from Bangladesh, detonated a pipe bomb strapped to his chest in the Port Authority subway station in December 2017. Authorities immediately arrested Ullah for the bombing, which injured Ullah and three others. Ullah built the bomb in his Brooklyn apartment in the weeks preceding his attack.

The ISIS-inspired terrorist began to radicalize in 2014 when he sought out radical Islamist materials online. On the morning of the attack, Ullah posted an ISIS slogan and said, "Trump you failed to protect your nation."

Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said the sentence serves as a reminder that threats of ISIS-related terrorism remain real.

"Ullah constructed a pipe bomb and detonated it in a mass transit hub in the heart of New York City to harm and terrorize as many people as possible—and he admitted that he did it on behalf of ISIS," Demers said. "This case reminds us that the threat of ISIS-inspired terrorism remains real. This sentence holds Ullah accountable, as he will spend the rest of his life in federal prison for his crimes."

Since 2015, the number of Islamist terror acts has steadily declined in the United States, but the threat of homegrown domestic terror remains a concern, according to a report from the think tank New America. Domestic radicalization often occurs online through jihadist channels and social media, the report says.

"Many extremists today either maintain public social media profiles displaying jihadist rhetoric or imagery or have communicated online using encrypted messaging apps," the report reads. "The percentage of cases involving such online activity has increased over time."