Return to Transcripts main page
WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Suspect In New York, New Jersey Bombings Captured; CNN Outside The Hospital Where Suspect Is Being Held; Two Officers Hit In Shootout With Rahami; U.S. Presidential Candidates Respond To Attacks; Syrian Monitor: Rebel-Held Aleppo Bombed; Kirby: If Reports True, Ceasefire Violated; Syrian Refugees Languish In No Man's Land; Mall Attack Suspect Identified As 22-Year-Old Dahr Adan. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired September 19, 2016 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:03] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: We begin with the very fast moving breaking news out of the United States. Here is the latest that we know
right now. The man thought to be behind a series of bombings in and around New York City is in custody this hour.
You are looking at 28-year-old Ahmed Khan Rahami just before he was pushed into an ambulance. You could see the blood on his arm there. It was after
a shootout with police. He looks dazed, but clearly he is conscious.
We've learned that two officers injured in that shoot out are not seriously hurt. Now this is what happened just minutes before. Here's Rahami on the
ground after the shootout with police and that altercation and right before he was apprehended.
Now the police got to them because a bar owner in Linden, New Jersey says he spotted the suspect sleeping in the doorway of the bar and alerted
police. He recognized him from television. He's actually watching CNN on his laptop.
Let me remind you, though, of how we got here with the dramatic developments over the last few days.
Rahami is the one thought to have placed bombs around two states, New York and New Jersey. One bomb found Sunday night in Elizabeth, New Jersey
detonated as a robot tried to disarm it. Nobody was hurt thankfully.
On Saturday, though, dozens of people were hurt when a bomb went off in Manhattan. Surveillance video captured those terrifying moments as the
explosion sent people running for cover.
Law enforcement sources tells CNN Rahami travelled to Afghanistan multiple times in the past year. He was of Afghan origin, a naturalized U.S.
citizen, nothing surprising there. He has family there.
But apparently he was never on any kind of terror watch list. The investigation is ongoing, here is the assistant director in charge of the
FBI's New York Division.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM SWEENEY, FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR IN CHARGE, NEW YORK DIVISION: So I have no indication that there is a cell operating in the area or in the
city. The investigation is ongoing so as we develop more information, we continue to go, but I have no indication that there is a cell operating
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, so perhaps he was operating alone. The U.S. President Barack Obama is in New York right now. He talked about the bombings, the
fear of terrorism, just after Rahami's capture. Listen to President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Moments like this I think it is important to remember what terrorists and violent extremists
are trying to do. They're trying to hurt innocent people, but they also want to inspire fear in all of us and disrupt the way we live to undermine
And so even as we have to be vigilant and aggressive, both in preventing senses acts of violence, but also making sure that we find those who carry
out such acts and bring them to justice, we all have a role to play as citizens in making sure that we don't succumb to that fear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: President Obama is in New York of course because it's the U.N. General Assembly this week. Lots of security even during a U.N. General
Assembly that is happening without the backdrop of these type of attack.
So you can imagine law enforcement and the kind of headache they're going to have to deal with those events unfolding. Let's find out what is
happening on the ground in New Jersey now.
CNN's Brynn Gingras is right outside the hospital in Newark where the suspect, Ahmed Rahami is being held. First of all, what condition is he in
after that shootout -- Brynn?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Hala, the press department here at the hospital hesitant to give us the exact condition of his
injuries. But of course, we have that video that shows him being loaded into the ambulance from that scene in Linden, New Jersey, a short drive
away from where we are in Newark.
He was alert and he did have bandages on his shoulder and also on his leg. At this point, it is unclear if he is actually talking to investigators.
What is clear, though, is that he is here and there are a number of investigators here that have focused with him at the hospital.
We have seen so many officers around this hospital, actually even checking cars before they head into the emergency area. So it's very tightly
secured at this point. Again a lot of questions they have for him, if he is even talking, of course, did he act alone and what are his motivations,
being some of them -- Hala.
GORANI: So we understand a bar owner actually alerted authorities after having seen the picture of the suspect, Ahmed Rahami, on television. Tell
us more about how they got there and what went down in that drive way.
GINGRAS: Well, we know exactly that, an alert was sent out with his picture and the description. That's when a bar owner called in and said
that he believed he was sleeping at that bar in the front area of it, and that's when this manhunt started which moved them from Elizabeth, New
Jersey to Linden New Jersey.
[15:05:09]Again, towns too very close together here in the states and that is where sort of a shootout sort of unfolded in a residential and sort of
business area of Linden, New Jersey.
And during that shootout, we know again that he was injured, Rahami. We also know that at least two officers were injured. One was shot in his
bullet proof vest. We also know one was hit by shrapnel in his forehead, and as you said, both non-life threatening injuries, but of course, they
were also transported to the hospital as well.
Again, we don't know if he gave any details to investigators or said anything to investigators as he was being loaded up into the ambulance.
But we did see that we has alert so that is the good news that hopefully they will get some information from him -- Hala.
GORANI: But according to what authorities have been saying just in the last hour or so, it appears as though he is the only suspect sought,
GINGRAS: I think what is being investigated right now is believed that he is the only person that they were looking for. Of course, they're now
looking into his background.
We know that he did visit Afghanistan and there is just a number of questions that they do have from them, but the big question, of course,
Hala, is he even going to say anything and that is what we're all waiting to hear at this point while he is being treated at the hospital.
GORANI: All right, we'll stay in close touch. Brynn Gingras is outside that hospital where the suspect, Ahmad Rahami, the suspect in those bombs
in New York and New Jersey, is being treated for injuries following a shootout in New Jersey.
A short time ago, officials in New York held a news conference to update the investigation. Mayor Bill De Blasio specifically spoke about others --
whether others are now being sought in this investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK: Based on the information we have now, we have every reason to believe this was an act of terror. We will be
going into some detail and there is still a long investigation ahead. But now we have, as I said, every reason to believe this was an act of terror.
There is no other individual we're looking for at this point in time. That is very important. Second, vigilance is called for and it is very, very
important if people see anything unusual, particularly an unintended package that they report it immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Bill De Blasio. Let's go look at the bigger picture surrounding this situation now. For that I want to bring in CNN senior law enforcement
analyst, Tom Fuentes, who is in Washington and our national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem. She joins us now from Massachusetts.
Tom, first I want to ask you, in some of the surveillance video, we saw two other individuals manipulating one of the backpacks yet now we are hearing
from Bill De Blasio and others that no one else is being sought in connection with this investigation. Why do you think that is?
TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Hala, from the beginning, the authorities felt that or believed that the individuals were just trying
to look at that bag and maybe find an abandoned duffel bag on the sidewalk and not steel it, but take it with them.
They see them emptying out the contents of that bag onto the sidewalk and then take the bag and leave. The contents turned out to be the second
pressure cooker bomb that have been built.
Now that bomb doesn't explode so possibly the jostling of it in that bag by those two individuals may be loosened a wire or somehow caused a connection
to be lost to prevent it from going on. But so far they don't think they were involved and they have not identified anybody else connected to
GORANI: Well, I have to say those are two lucky individuals, just looking to take off with a bag. It could have ended very badly for them.
Juliette, first, how do you come so quickly to the conclusion, I'm talking about authorities now, that this is just one individual. That there is no
cell involved even though we know according to sources that he's traveled to Afghanistan several times.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I'm not sure I would agree with them. I always think it's better to let the facts drive what you call
it. Some of the New York authorities were getting ahead of themselves or behind themselves in terms of what they were calling it over the weekend.
So I'm not sure we know yet. That is not to scare your viewers with it is just to say this is an investigation that law enforcement and FBI do all of
the time. That would be a difficult -- you have the guy, right? Who has he contacted? Is he speaking?
He and his brother have a record we understand. There is family issues as there often are. You do interview and figure out if anyone knew what was
going on and then, of course, you have the online scrub, who was he talking to online?
What is he talking encrypted? Did he have any interaction with outside groups? So this investigation while unique in the sense that this was a
terror attack in the U.S. actually is quite familiar to law enforcement at this stage. And then we'll be able to determine what we'll call it, but
for now the evidence suggests that it was him.
[15:10:10]GORANI: But Juliette, you would expect ISIS, for instance, or an ISIS sort of affiliated web site to take claim responsibility. They want
nothing more than to claim responsibility for something like this. They did so with the Minnesota mall stabbing yet not in this case. What does
that tell you?
KAYYEM: Maybe they don't know whether he was sort of passively absorbing their stuff. They also remember -- they do have some quality control.
They came out way ahead on the Orlando case, and then when there was some suggestions that he might be gay, ISIS went quiet after that.
So maybe they don't know or they're determining their interactions with him. From our end, we don't want to give them credit for something that
they ought not to get credit for. So that's why letting the investigation follow the facts is what we should demand of government at this stage.
GORANI: All right, so Tom, of course, this is still just a suspect -- this Ahmed Rahami, he is alive. We don't know if he is cooperating or speaking,
but obviously there is a lot of value in having captured this suspect alive.
FUENTES: Well, there is, but you know the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution allows him to refuse to be interviewed if he chooses.
So he cannot be compelled to provide an interview to the FBI or the police or anyone else.
So if he chooses to not say a word, he does have that right. Now they will try to get him to talk, just try to persuade him and he was very
psychological rapport building efforts to try to get him to want to talk.
And as you may recall, the underwear bomber in 2009 talked to the FBI for nine days following his attempt to blow up the airliner over Detroit. He
may talk and explain himself, he may not. That's his right.
GORANI: Juliette, this pressure cooker weapon, this is really very unsophisticated. You can go to the supermarket and gather the elements you
need to put this together with a very basic manual. This is not sort of high-grade sophisticated plot here. What do you make of the method used?
KAYYEM: Well, I think you're absolutely right. It is on jihadist websites. They describe how to make a pressure cooker type bomb like this.
So nothing is unique. Obviously it takes a certain amount of motivation.
You have to buy the products, not be detected, make them work, and look, he from at least what we can tell now, he had a 25 percent success rate.
And that suggests the level of sophistication and training for this kind of terrorism is quite minimal, and they're being radicalized rather quickly,
but they don't have the technological know-how of previous terrorist groups that we dealt with including al Qaeda.
GORANI: And the last one to you, Tom, it is virtually impossible to keep track of every single person that might have, you know, plans to use things
as basic and rudimentary as a pressure cooker to terrorize people in a city like New York. How do you combat this from the perspective of law
FUENTES: Well, if he doesn't tell others that he wants to do it, if he doesn't put that out on social media or in e-mails or phone conversations,
tell his friends, families, neighbors, or colleges that he has this intention, he can radicalize with virtually no one else knowing that he has
And the FBI and the police will not be able to read his mind. So if no one else is involved, it's going to be easy for him to keep that secret.
Where the failure has happened on the part of terrorists in the past here in the U.S. in particular is that someone comes up with a grandiose idea,
but they can't do it by themselves. They need somebody to help them make the bomb.
They need somebody to help them buy the weapons and as soon as they reach out, that person "rats them out." They call the police, the FBI, and then
the plot is thwarted.
But if an individual doesn't need anyone else's help, there is no one to call the authorities to tell on him, and again, it can be possible do it.
GORANI: Tom Fuentes and Juliette Kayyem, thanks to both of you for joining us on CNN. We appreciate it and we'll stay in touch with you as well as we
learn more on this still developing story.
And a lot more to come this evening, we've heard from the U.S. commander- in-chief in the wake of the attacks. Next, we'll hear, of course, we're 50 days away, from the candidates who want take that role.
[15:15:01]Find out how Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump plans to address the attacks and the fact that the suspect is in custody.
And the other news we're following this hour, I'll speak to the U.S. State Department's spokesperson amid reports the Syrian ceasefire has effectively
crumbled with heavy bombardments reported in Aleppo by regime war planes. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This threat is real, but so is our resolve. Americans will not cower, we will prevail. We will defend
our country and we will defeat the evil twisted ideology of the terrorists.
I'm the only candidate in this race who has been part of the hard decisions to take terrorists off of the battlefield and I have laid out a
comprehensive plan to meet the evolving nature of this threat and take the fight to ISIS everywhere they threaten us including online.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: That was Hillary Clinton talking about the weekend terrorist attack. The U.S. Democratic presidential candidate is casting herself as
measured and as a candidate with the experience to fight terrorism and deal with international affairs.
She is slamming rival Donald Trump for using what she called, quote, "irresponsible and reckless rhetoric," unquote. Now for his part, Trump is
warning that things will only get worse. We are expecting him to take to the podium any minute now at a campaign event in Estero, Florida.
His campaign also accused the Obama administration of not doing enough to fight ISIS. This comes after the White House press secretary describes the
U.S. fight against the ISIS ideology as, quote, "A war of narratives." Here is how Trump described the attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): It's a mess, and it's a shame, and we're going to have to be very tough. I think maybe
we're going to be seeing a big change over the last couple days. I think this is something that maybe we'll get -- will happen perhaps more and more
all over the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean more terrorist strikes?
TRUMP: Yes, because we've been weak. Our country has been weak. We're letting people in by the tens of thousands. I've been saying you got to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, we're waiting for Donald Trump to speak again this hour. This is happening in Florida. Why is Florida important? Because
both he and Hillary Clinton are in a dead heat in the polls in this important swing state.
Let's talk more about this, CNN senior political reporter, Stephen Collinson joins me now live from Washington. I'm mentioning a poll, the
latest one was a "New York Times" poll for Florida where Hillary Clinton is at 41 percent, Donald Trump at 40 percent, Johnson at 9, and stein at 2.
This is a very important battleground state here -- Stephen.
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR ENTERPRISE REPORTER: That's right. Donald Trump really does need to win Florida if he's to get to the 270
electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
[15:20:03]Hillary Clinton can afford to lose it, but if she were to win it, it would make it almost impossible for Trump to win the presidency.
Florida's perennially one of those swing states that can decide the election.
Of course, in 2,000, it was the scene of the disputed election between Al Gore and George W. Bush. So it's clearly a very important state. This is
a very important period of this election.
There is only a week to go before the first presidential debate, which many observers think could be crucial in deciding who gets to sort of the
momentum in the final weeks of the election.
And this weekend wave of terror attacks in New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota has only sort of added to the phonetic atmosphere and has both
candidates scrambling for political advantage in their aftermath -- Hala.
GORANI: But what's interesting is that this truly highlighted the difference in approaches, styles, and what each candidate thinks is the
solution to this type of threat and one has to wonder, you know, is this more likely to benefit Donald Trump here?
COLLINSON: That's right. Both candidates are making a gamble with a political move. It's not quite clear how Americans are going to react to
these attacks. You're right. I mean, basically Donald Trump right from the first moment on Saturday night, the news of these attacks in New York
started to filter through has basically stoked fear and uncertainty, and warning this is going to get a lot worse.
I told you so, you didn't listen to me. We weren't tough enough on terrorism. He is making a political calculation there, but Americans are
scared. They believe that the prevailing political establishment represented by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has not done enough to stop
After all ISIS emerged on the watch of President Obama, and he believes that the way to build his support is to emphasize that fear and tap into
Hillary Clinton is playing a different game. She is saying what Americans really want at a time of crisis is someone who is steady, knows what she is
doing, who has lots of knowledge, lots of plans, and who doesn't emphasize and give in to fear and panic, but says we have to be steely, show resolve.
So you're seeing two very different definitions. Hillary Clinton is trying to behave like a president would. I think Donald Trump is behaving like a
politician and a challenger.
GORANI: But here's the thing for Hillary Clinton, regardless of her strategy, this lead to a situation in which people are not talking anymore
about the fact she didn't disclose her pneumonia diagnosis, all of a sudden we are not talking about e-mails anymore, et cetera, et cetera. So in a
way this has shifted the conversation elsewhere. That has to be good for her too.
COLLINSON: Yes, that's true. But having said that, you know, last Friday we were talking about how Donald Trump propagated two new falsehoods about
this idea that the president wasn't born in the United States saying that it wasn't him that brought it up after all these years. It was actually
I think that backfired on Donald Trump. So I think the Clinton campaign would have liked to go into this week talking about Donald Trump's
falsehoods on birtherism because those are things that really help sort of inspire the Obama coalition of voters she needs rather than talking about
But it shows you that this stage of campaign, 50 days to go, candidates have to be nimble. The sort of argument between them changes on an hourly
basis. That is one of the reason these campaigns are so tough.
But it's also one of the reasons why, you know, at the end of the day they produce a president, every single day is a test. Just like every single
day in the White House is a test with all sorts of things coming from different directions that you don't expect.
GORANI: Stephen Collinson, thanks very much. Great having you on as always.
We're getting reports of the rebel held part of Aleppo being bomb once again. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights tells CNN that a number of
people were killed or wounded. It comes just hours after the Syrian Army said the ceasefire was over.
At the same time, the U.S. insisted it was fragile but still holding. The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says negotiators from the U.S. and
Russia are meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
They're trying to agree a formal extension of that ceasefire that technically expired on Sunday night, and by all accounts, never truly was
and has crumbled.
The talks became that much harder after a U.S.-led airstrike accidentally killed or wounded dozens of Syrian regime troops on Sunday.
Now the U.S. State Department spokesperson, John Kirby, has told me it is not easy to overcome the difference between the U.S. and Russia. I spoke
with him earlier and I asked him first for his reaction to the reports that the ceasefire was broken.
JOHN KIRBY, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Obviously, if the reports are true, and they're just coming in right now so I have not seen them myself
that there is bombing in Aleppo, clearly that is a violation of the cessation of hostilities. Clearly it is not in keeping with the
arrangement that we reached in Geneva last week.
[15:25:04]GORANI: So what happens to the deal then? Does it die?
KIRBY: Well, we're going to have a discussion with the Russians. We are going to talk about just that. What we said was and part of the
arrangement, if you get unimpeded humanitarian access, the food, water and medicine, if you get seven days of reduced violence, then we can move
forward with the establishment of the joint implementation center, which would allow for a measure of information sharing between the U.S. military
and the Russian military to try to focus our efforts against Nusra and Daesh.
GORANI: But you have neither of those things.
KIRBY: You're making my next point, Hala, which is we don't believe we're ready to move forward with this arrangement because we have not seen the
humanitarian access flow in an unimpeded and sustained way, and we continue to see attacks like the attacks by the regime such as the attacks were are
seeing at least in press reporting coming out of Aleppo.
GORANI: So that means essentially this agreement has crumbled.
KIRBY: What it means is that we're not ready to move forward with the arrangement that was set in Geneva last week. We are not ready to move
forward with the establishment and the joint implementation center. We're going to have discussions with the Russians here in New York, at the U.N.
We're going to have -- Secretary Kerry is going to talk to Foreign Minister Lavrov and we are going to see where we go from here.
GORANI: All right, there was also a major issue that angered the Russian and certainly the regime as well and that was a coalition strike on their
(inaudible) that accidentally it seemed killed more than 60 regime soldiers.
The Russians are saying that U.S. is too stubborn to coordinate with Moscow that essentially this is the fault of the United States and the coalitions'
sort of unwillingness to negotiate with Russia, is that what happened here?
KIRBY: No, that's what happened here. I mean, the Defense Department spoke to this airstrike, they were very open and they were forthright about
the fact that it did appear that by accident, not intention, did we hit Syrian soldiers.
This was information, by the way, on airstrikes that we shared with the Russians and wasn't disputed when it was shared with them. So the notion
that we are not willing to continue to de-conflict and share some measure of information is just not true.
GORANI: Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., and Vitali (inaudible), the Russian ambassador to the U.N. with very, very harsh words
for each other just about 24 hours ago at the U.N.. I want our viewers to listen to what they said and then ask you a final question about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: Even by Russia's standards, tonight's stunt, a stunt replete with moralism and grand
standing is uniquely cynical and hypocritical.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, well, that was Samantha Power. This doesn't sound at all like the two countries are on the same page and ready to cooperate in
any kind of way.
KIRBY: Look, we've had our differences with Russia in terms of what is going on in Syria. There's been no secret about that. I mean, if it was
easy, you know, we would have the solved many months ago.
We recognize there are more difficulties to work out. We're displeased to see that either the Russians are unwilling or unable to put the kind of
influence on Assad to allow for a better situation in and around Aleppo and so many other communities in Syria.
So we're not happy about where things are, and I think Ambassador Power was reflecting that frustration. The same frustration that Secretary Kerry and
everybody in the U.S. government has right now.
If the Russian government is not willing to use that influence, we know that they have on Assad, and we can't get people the food, water, and
medicine that they so desperately need, then this arrangement will fail and we won't be able to enact it and we won't stand up.
GORANI: But you're not walking away now from the table, right?
KIRBY: There are conversations to be had yet with the Russians about where we are today, seven days into this arrangement, and I think we need to let
those conversations happen, but obviously nobody is content with where we are right now. And we don't believe from the American side that we can
move forward with the arrangement, which includes the establishment of this implementation center given the conditions on the ground right now.
GORANI: John Kirby is the U.S. State Department spokesperson telling me that the U.S. is not walking away. That there might some things still left
to salvage in this deal despite the fact we are hearing reports from Aleppo that heavy regime bombardment is ongoing in rebel-held area.
Now we were talking about the access for aid. It appears as though some of it is reaching some of the people who need it most in Syria. For days aid
trucks have been stuck at the border with Turkey amid concerns that the ceasefire was too fragile.
Now the Red Cross says it delivered supplies to 84,000 people in Homs. Separately the Syrian Arab Red Crescent says 23 tons of medicine and
supplies for children donated by Belarus has reached a section of Aleppo province. So something a drip, drip there, better than nothing, but
certainly not nearly enough for the people who need it.
We'll return to our top story next. A live update from New Jersey where police caught the suspect in a series of bombings after a shootout. The
latest on the investigation plus an account from a man who saw the dramatic takedown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[15:30:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was on the 700 there, and I saw the bullet casings on the sidewalk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: An update on our top story, the FBI said the man arrested in Linden, New Jersey is linked to bombings in both New York City and Seaside,
New Jersey. He is 28, Ahmad Khan Rahami. He was wounded in a shootout with police as he was captured. There he is before being put into an
ambulance. Officials say no one else is being sought at this time.
The 22-year-old Dahr Adan has been identified as the man suspected of an attack at a Minnesota mall. Adan allegedly stabbed nine people Saturday
before an off-duty police officer shot and killed him. And ISIS linked news agency called him, a quote, "Soldier of the Islamic State."
World leaders are gathering in New York this week for the United Nations annual meeting. For the first time ever the general assembly is bringing
many of them together for a special summit on refugees and migrants to try and figure out a way to do more to help them.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is changing tact over her response to the refugee crisis. Critics has blamed her party's poor results in the Berlin
elections over the weekend on her policy of open doors in Germany. Now Ms. Merkel is saying that if she could turn back time, she would have managed
the situation differently.
CNN has been speaking to witnesses in New Jersey throughout the day. People who say police take down terror suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami. Take a
listen to one man who saw the shootout and spoke to our Drew Griffin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT VARADY, WITNESS: I was walking up to the body shop here, and I heard two pops. I thought maybe a palette or something fell off of a
truck. And then I heard someone yell are you OK? And then a few seconds later I heard more pops, and then I saw police cars, under covers, I ducked
back into the body shot and I heard 15 or 20 shots. When I came back out I heard pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Do you recall how long it was happening?
VARADY: About a minute or two, about a minute and a half?
GRIFFIN: Screaming from police?
VARADY: No, I did not.
GRIFFIN: So once the shots stopped --
VARADY: It looked like they were pursuing someone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[15:35:03]GORANI: One of the witnesses who heard 15, 20 shots. Let's get more now from the site of today's capture. CNN's Jean Casarez is in
Linden, New Jersey, and she joins us now live. So we know two police officers were wounded. So this suspect was armed, is that correct, do we
know what type of arm?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a very good question. What we're hearing is that there was a shootout, a shootout, one officer was shot in
the vest, another officer was shot in his hand, but we've not specifically heard how they were shot.
But it was a shootout and we do know that Rahami was injured and all have been transported to a hospital. You know, I want to tell your viewers that
this is Linden, New Jersey.
This is a small community, residential area, not too far from New York City, but it is over the state line of New Jersey. And just as we just
heard from someone else in this area, neighbors were woken up this morning to gunshots and that doesn't happen around here.
And it's right behind me here where Rahami was actually put down, arrested, and transported. And let me tell you how it happened, there was a man in
the vicinity of this area that owns a bar. He was at the property across the street.
Saw someone asleep on his doorway of the bar. Looked at his television, and he saw the picture of Rahami who authorities are saying are armed and
dangerous, and he looked across the street and saw him. And so he called authorities and that's how they started pursuing him. It all ended up
While this was happening, three miles down the road, at the First American Chicken Restaurant, the FBI was carrying out a search warrant for hours.
Now the mayor of Elizabeth, New Jersey tells me that Rahami's family lives in the upper portion, a father and two sons we heard, run the restaurant.
But the FBI took out at least one box of evidence, they towed away two cars.
And then the morning started out this morning about a mile away from the chicken restaurant and that's where 9:30 last night two men found a
backpack in a trash can.
They took it under the railroad tracks, which were very close, opened it up and they saw a pipe and wires. Those men ran I am told by the mayor to the
police station saying something is wrong here.
That's when they called in the bomb squad and they detonated one of the bombs. No one was hurt. They have secured it and now it is going to the
FBI in Quantico, Virginia, most likely evidence.
But authorities have said this afternoon they believe Rahami is associated with bombing in New York City just last weekend and bombs here in New
GORANI: And what do we know about his background. We know he was born in Afghanistan, a naturalized U.S. citizen. What about his family and his
background in the United States?
CASAREZ: Well, the entire community of Elizabeth, at least in that area where the fried chicken restaurant is, they know of the family and it's not
in a positive sense. It's in a negative sense and there are two sides to every story.
But this fried chicken restaurant used to be open for 24 hours a day. The city tells me that there were code violations, noise violations. That
people were always in the area and the neighbors started complaining.
So the city asked them to close at 10:00 p.m. They filed suit against the city saying they were being discriminated against because they were Muslim.
That was filed in 2011. They lost that suit in 2012, I am told by the mayor.
But people in the area know the family, and it is because of those issues right there. Now we have heard that Rahami traveled quite frequently.
Sources tells CNN that he travelled to Afghanistan, but even law enforcement at the highest level are still trying to find through social
media exactly what his background was.
We know he attended high school. People say he was a really nice guy. Everybody liked him. One person that we spoke to in the area said that
once he traveled overseas and came back and he was different.
So we are hearing that, but he also went to community college in New Jersey and he majored in criminal justice. So many sides, many different faceted
sides to this person that is now being seriously looked at by law enforcement.
GORANI: All right, we know he's in the hospital in Newark. We'll see if he cooperates with authorities. Jean Casarez, thanks very much in New
Jersey with the very latest.
By the way, we were talking about this individual's family, in just the last few minutes, a woman believed to be the sister of the suspected bomber
posted on Facebook, let me read what she said.
Quote, "I would like people to respect my family's privacy and let us have our peace after this tragic time," unquote. A short statement, posted on
Facebook, we're hearing this from a woman we believe to be the sister of the Ahmed Rahami, the suspect.
[15:40:01]Now we've learned that he traveled to Afghanistan multiple times in recent years. In fact, he is of Afghan descent. CNN terrorism analyst,
Paul Cruikshank is here, to talk about all of this.
So Paul, first of all, I mean, if this guy indeed is responsible for planting all of these pipe and pressure cooker bombs, and then knowing that
there is a "be on the lookout alert" with his picture out all over the U.S. and the world still somehow ends up sleeping in a doorway, you know, easily
spotted by a bar owner. I mean, he is either not the sharpest tool in the shed, or there is something tragically wrong with his getaway plan here.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: That's right. And apparently he was spotted sleeping at this ordinary restaurant in New Jersey by an
eyewitness and that was one of the ways that law enforcement agencies were able to locate him.
Someone that does not appear to have had a great amount of operational (inaudible) in terms of trying to get away to evade security services. He
was caught relatively soon after these attempted attacks.
But he managed to -- it would appear at this point build several devices including those pipe bombs in New Jersey and the pressure cooker bombs in
New York City. The New Jersey devices from everything we're hearing were pretty rudimentary.
We're yet to hear full clarity about the pressure cooker bombs as possible. They were a little bit more sophisticated, but they will be looking at
those trips in recent years to investigation and looking at whether or not he might have connected over there with some kind of militant outfit,
terrorist outfit over there.
There is a number of terrorist groups that have been operating in Afghanistan, Pakistan, that region, notably, al Qaeda, and also the
Pakistani Taliban, who are responsible for that attempt to bomb Times Square in 2010.
Authorities are not yet saying whether they think there is any international terrorism connection, but they are quite firmly indicating at
this point they believed he contacted all alone, at least in the United States -- Hala.
GORANI: And it is important to note that he went to Afghanistan and also to other countries, when he came back, he was questioned, he was on no
terror watch list, that kind of thing. So this is, if it is indeed this individual is a suspect at this time that means he was able to do all of
this and plan all of this without telling anyone, without exacting anyone abroad that would raise any red flag?
CRUICKSHANK: Yes, and that is a very worrying scenario for law enforcement officials the so-called clean skin. Somebody without a track record of
radical activity or links to any kind of terrorism outfit.
So they'll be looking at what was his radicalization trajectory. I mean, they are assuming that he was radicalized, although, at this point, that he
hasn't (inaudible) trying to view this with any kind of political motive.
We haven't seen him that record any kind of message, which was sort of put out or investigators find any kind of will and testament yet, but we might
hear more about that in the hours ahead.
But I think the presumption at the moment is he had become radicalized. The question is how, and who else was he in touch with domestically and
internationally, though, at least in the operational faze of this plan, it appears he acted alone, which is very reassuring to everyone here in New
I got to tell you during the general assembly week, there was still concern. If you had a bomb maker or a terrorist still at large that you
could see more attacks. That eminent danger has now been dealt with.
GORANI: Also it is a completely different MO. I mean, this isn't somebody is believed from what we've seen in the past that this suspect is believed
to have placed these bombs in dumpsters and trash cans and that kind of thing. You know, giving him the opportunity to then run off, run away
after. So this is not something that we usually see if it is indeed him and it is indeed connected to an extremist jihadi-type ideologies.
CRUICKSHANK: Well, it depends (inaudible), Hala, that he may well have wanted to launch a string of attacks and use timers or call them up on a
cell phone and then have some kind of last confrontation with law enforcement officials.
So this may have been a multi-phase attack that he was planning. We just don't know his state of mind at this point. Clearly, whatever is going on
in his head, he appears to have wanted to kill people over the weekend in New York City or so in New Jersey.
And remember that that charity race, the run that was apparently targeted in New Jersey was linked to U.S. Marine Corps. So think about that as a
potential target and the kind of individuals that might have a motivation to go off to some kind of target like that -- Hala.
GORANI: All right, well, they got that suspect alive so that is a little different as well from other scenarios. So we'll see what emerges from
[15:45:08]Paul Cruickshank, thanks very much in New York. This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. We'll have more news ahead including the desperate flight
of refugees stranded in the desert trying desperately to survive. And world leaders discuss their situation half a world away.
GORANI: Most of the world's pleaders are gathering in New York this week for the United Nations yearly get together. For the first time ever, the
General Assembly is pulling into a summit on refugees and migrants to try and figure out a solution. The U.N.'s commissioner on refugees had this to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FILIPPO GRANDI, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES: It is time to recognize that we cannot go on as before. Today we have an extraordinary
opportunity to change gear. Addressing forced displacement is a humanitarian challenge that it requires global solutions engaging a full
range of instruments and actors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: The U.N. estimates that there are some five million Syrian refugees, one of the highest numbers from any single place in the world.
The lucky ones live in camps, but others don't even get to do that. With some exclusive footage, Jomana Karadsheh gives us a rare look at the
thousands of Syrians trapped in a void.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They fled their homes in search of safety, but this is where their journey ended. Make shift
graveyard in no man's land between Jordan and Syria. Dozens are said to be buried here. This desolate desert known as the "berm" is where more than
75,000 Syrian refugees have been stranded for months, surviving on almost nothing.
DR. NATALIE THURTLE, MEDICAL TEAM LEADER, MEDECINS SANS FRONTRIERS: They can't go back, they can't come forward, and they even permitted to be where
they are. They are almost like ghosts, not seen or recognized by any entity.
KARADSHEH: As Jordan tighten its border with Syria late last year allowing only small numbers of refugees across, the population at the "berm" grew.
In June, access for aid agencies became impossible after a suicide attack by ISIS on Jordanian border guard killed at least six troops. The kingdom
sealed off the "berm" declaring it a closed military zone.
THURTLE: There has been one food drop since the bombing and that was for 30 days and it ran out on the 2nd of September. So there is no meaningful
sanitation there, there is no protection, there is no access to health care.
KARADSHEH: The World Food Program had to use a crane to make the single food drop into the "berm" in early August. Our requests to visit the area
were denied by the Jordanian military citing security concerns.
[15:50:03]But through Syrian activists and cell phone footage filmed for CNN, we got a glimpse into the dire living condition. In the scorching
desert heat and in makeshift tents, they've been receiving limited amounts of water.
There have been reports of newborn deaths. Deaths from hepatitis outbreak and cases of severe dehydration. This mother said she has been in the berm
for about a year, her baby girl has no milk or food, just some foiled rice.
One man says his 4 month old son is buried here, he needed medicine and oxygen, but there are no hospitals, he says.
This old woman says I have no one, I'm hungry, thirsty, help me. With no access, aid agencies say it is hard to access the true scale of human
suffering at the berm.
Jordan which is hosting more than a million Syrians says the nation's security is its top priority and the area is becoming an ISIS enclave.
In a statement to CNN, the government says, "We're in continuous discussion with aid agencies regarding this issue and we continue to emphasize
Jordan's legitimate security concerns and the best way aid can be delivered. This is an international problem, not Jordan's problem."
For now they use what they can to prepare for a harsh winter ahead as they wait for the world to decide on their fate. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Amman.
GORANI: Coming up, we now know the identity of the man suspected of stabbing nine people at a mall in Minnesota. We'll have a live report on
that. We'll be right back.
GORANI: All right, updating our top story right now, authorities say an unexploded device found in New York Saturday was instrumental in
identifying the man who allegedly set off two bombs over the weekend.
The 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami was wounded in a shootout with police as he was captured on Monday. Officials say no one else is being sought at
Law enforcement sources tells CNN Rahami travelled to Afghanistan a few times in the past few years, and now he is Afghan born that is not unusual
in itself. He was questioned each time he reentered the United States, but he never aroused suspicion of possible radicalization.
Now let's turn to another attack on U.S. soil not connected to this story. We now know the identity of a man behind a stabbing attack at a mall in
Minnesota. He is 22 or was 22 years old.
Dahir Adan worked at a private security firm in the St. Cloud area where the attack took place. On Saturday, Adan stabbed nine people at the mall
before an off duty police officer shot him dead. An ISIS linked news agency called Adan a soldier of the Islamic State.
CNN correspondent, Rosa Flores, is live in St. Cloud, Minnesota with the very latest. What more do we know about the man believed to be behind all
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, we have been talking to community leaders who are in contact with the family. The family of course
is trying to be reserved and not talking to the media at this point, but we are learning more through them and these community leaders.
They tell us that this man lived in this community, he went to school. He was a smart guy. He was taking college credit courses while in high
school, and then he attended college at St. Cloud State University.
[15:55:10]He was a student in the spring of 2016 with the inattention to major in information systems and then he was no longer a student in the
fall of 2016. This is according to the university.
We are also learning more about what he was doing at the mall here on Saturday and this is according to the family through these community
leaders. They say he was here to purchase a cell phone.
And the big question is how do you go from going to the mall to purchase a cell phone to the act you just described? Nine people stabbed and so that
of course is what investigators are trying to sift through and figure out.
Now we do know that they've exercised two warrants. We also talked to a community leader who was there when the warrants were exercised and they
tell us that computers were taken by authorities, a cell phone, books, pretty much anything that belonged to Adan was taken by authorities at this
And the latest from the police chief, in the last few hours during a press conference, is that they do not have hard evidence, or a hard connection to
ISIS at this particular time.
GORANI: But we do know they claimed responsibility, is this, because we were talking a lot about the New York and New Jersey situation, this is
believed to be a solo act as well?
FLORES: At this particular time we don't have any information to indicate there is anyone else involved. I should add that the Somali community here
is very concerned about what this could do to their efforts to integrate with Minnesotans. They say we have tried to integrate for 30 years. We
have built many, many bridges and they're afraid that this will shatter everything that they have done.
GORANI: All right, Rosa Flores there in St. Cloud, Minnesota, thanks very much. We'll have a lot more at the top of the hour. Of course with what
impact this might have in the presidential race. We're only 50 days away.
Check out our Facebook page, Facebook.com/halagoranicnn. As I mentioned, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" at the top of the hour. This has been THE WORLD
RIGHT NOW. See you same time and place tomorrow. I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks for watching and do stay with CNN.