National News

Crude Pipe Bomb Malfunctioned in Manhattan Attack, Authorities Say

Posted December 11, 2017 2:38 p.m. EST

NEW YORK — Pipe bombs, generally easy to build and simple to operate, are the most commonly used explosive device in the United States.

The one that was detonated in a pedestrian passageway in Midtown Manhattan on Monday was a crude example, constructed by stuffing match heads into a narrow length of pipe and securing both open ends, several people with knowledge of the device said.

A Christmas tree light with the bulb broken was used as the initiator, which ignited the match heads when the bulb was turned on, one of the people said. That was accomplished with a 9-volt battery, the person said.

The explosion blew one or both caps off the length of pipe, one of the people said, but did not blast the length of pipe apart and turn it into shrapnel. The burns and lacerations inflicted on the man who detonated the bomb, identified by the police as Akayed Ullah, were caused by one or both of the end-caps, which ripped across his chest and abdomen, and by the ignition of the match heads.