September 20th, 2016 | Updated on September 30th, 2016
New details about Ahmad Khan Rahami, the primary suspect in three separate bombing incidents in New York City and New Jersey, are coming to light about overseas trips.
US authorities were investigating on Monday night whether the New York bomb attacks were an Islamist terror plot as it emerged the alleged perpetrator had traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan several times and showed signs of having been radicalized.
Rahami traveled to Afghanistan at least three times, the last time believed to be in 2014. The official said It is unclear at this time the purpose for the trips, investigators are seeking to see if the travel was to visit family or for other reasons.
Rahami has been charged with five counts of attempted murder and two gun charges.
Rahami, 28, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan who lived with his family in Elizabeth, New Jersey, underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to the leg.
It was reported on Monday night that Rahami had married a woman in Pakistan and later applied for her to come to the US. Her current location was unknown.
In 2011, Rahami and his father attempted to sue the city of Linden for discrimination after numerous court cases involving allegations of noise disturbance at the family takeaway.
Three years later, he was arrested for unlawful possession of a weapon and domestic violence charges for allegedly attempting to stab his sister, but was not charged.
One of his sisters – it was unclear if it was the same one – reportedly said he was the “black sheep” of the family and did not get along with his father.
It was reported on Monday night that Rahami had a high school sweetheart in New Jersey, with whom he had a daughter.
A woman told Fox News they had been sweethearts at high school where he was the “class clown”.
She said Rahami had failed to pay child support for the daughter they had together.
She said he would rail against American culture and homosexuality.
But the woman, who was identified only as Maria, said: “I never thought he would do something like this. I think he was brainwashed.”
The bombing comes at a time of increasing nervousness around the world after terrorist attacks in Belgium and France, creating a climate in which even a false report of gunfire at John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens recently created widespread panic.