Egyptian pilots deactivated Manhattan bomb while 'stealing' luggage

Egyptian pilots deactivated Manhattan bomb while 'stealing' luggage
Two Egyptian pilots have unwittingly become heroes in an international terrorist event, after they found a suitcase holding the device, and accidentally defused it, and walking away with the luggage.
2 min read
29 September, 2016
The FBI is looking to question the two men as witnesses [FBI]

Two Egyptian pilots are believed to have accidently defused an unexploded pressure cooker bomb in New York two weeks ago after they scavenged the suitcase holding the explosive device and the mobile phone used as its trigger mechanism.

On 17 September Ahmad Khan Rahami allegedly planted several bombs in New York and New Jersey that injured 31 people, including the deactivated bomb found just blocks from where a bomb blast injured 29 people.

The FBI issued a statement on Wednesday with images taken from CCTV footage of the two unidentified men as they unwittingly took away the homemade bomb in a suitcase they found.

"Closed circuit television recordings indicate that these individuals allegedly located a piece of luggage on the sidewalk, removed an improvised explosive device from the luggage, and then left the vicinity leaving the device behind but taking the luggage," the statement read.

"The FBI is asking for the public's assistance in locating these two unknown individuals," it added.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News that men are believed to be employees of Egyptian flag carrier airline EgyptAir.

      Rahami was arrested in New Jersey two days after the attack [Getty]

An Egyptair spokeswoman told The New Arab that they were unaware of the incident and could not confirm the reports.

Police Commissioner James O'Neill stressed that the two are wanted as witnesses and are not suspected in the bombing that ripped through New York's Chelsea neighbourhood.

"They saw the bag, admired the bag, removed what turned out to be a device, a pressure cooker. Placed it on the sidewalk and rolled the bag away," O'Neil said.

"They're very, very lucky" it didn't explode, he added.

The FBI has released pictures of the pair with the floral patterned luggage at the airport as they left the country for Egypt.

On Tuesday, the FBI said Rahami appears to have acted on his own, with no connection to an extremist movement.

"We see so far no indication of a larger cell or the threat of related attacks," FBI director James Comey testified at a Senate committee hearing.

Rahami, was arrested in New Jersey two days after the attack. He was wounded in a shootout with police as they closed in to arrest him. He has remained hospitalised and is unable to appear before a judge.