Men who found Chelsea bomb bag were visiting Egyptian security guards



Two EgyptAir security guards have been identified as the men who found a travel bag which contained the second of two bombs used in last month's terrorist attack in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea. The in-flight security officers, Hassan Ali and Abou Bakr Radwan, were spending their time off in Manhattan at the time, and were identified by EgyptAir officials on Friday, according to the New York Times. They apparently have not been interviewed by U.S. or Egyptian authorities yet, but U.S. law enforcement officials had already indicated that they did not believe the men were involved in the bombing plot, and indeed think the men may have unintentionally deactivated the homemade bomb when they dropped it on the ground. The FBI still wanted to speak with them, however, and had asked the public for help in identifying them.

On the night of the bombing, a surveillance camera captured Ali and Radwan finding and opening a small piece of luggage on West 27th Street, then removing a plastic bag which turned out to contain an improvised explosive device fashioned out of a pressure cooker. The two men left the plastic bag on the ground and then walked away with the luggage. So far, it seems that suspected bomber Ahman Rahimi, who was apprehended by police within 48 hours of the bombings, acted alone in staging the attacks in Manhattan and New Jersey on September 17.

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Authorities investigate Residence in Elizabeth NJ for Chelsea Bombing
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Authorities investigate Residence in Elizabeth NJ for Chelsea Bombing
Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is wanted for questioning in connection with an explosion in New York City, is seen in this image released by the New Jersey State Police on September 19, 2016. Courtesy New Jersey State Police/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is wanted for questioning in connection with an explosion in New York City, is seen in this image taken from video, released by the New Jersey State Police on September 19, 2016. Courtesy New Jersey State Police/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Law enforcement officers mark evidence near the site where Ahmad Khan Rahami, sought in connection with a bombing in New York, was taken into custody in Linden, New Jersey, U.S., September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Law enforcement officers mark evidence near the site where Ahmad Khan Rahami, sought in connection with a bombing in New York, was taken into custody in Linden, New Jersey, U.S., September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Law enforcement officers secure the area where they allegedly arrested terror suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami following a shootout in Linden, New Jersey, on September 19, 2016. The FBI led a major manhunt Monday for an 'armed and dangerous' Afghan-born American wanted in connection with weekend bombings in New York and New Jersey as a third nest of bombs was discovered in his hometown. Federal investigators released a mugshot of 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, who has brown hair, brown eyes and a brown beard, saying he was last known to live in Elizabeth, a town adjacent to Newark International Airport. / AFP / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Ahmad Khan Rahami alive but injured, loaded into ambulance in Linden https://t.co/aMCNYxwFnH https://t.co/JJlFhPLYSu
ELIZABETH, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: A local police officer stands guard at an intersection as members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement officials investigate a residence in connection to Saturday night's bombing in Manhattan on September 19, 2016 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This morning law enforcement released a photograph of 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, who they are seeking in connection to the attack in Chelsea. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Onlookers watch while Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) personnel search an address during an investigation into Ahmad Khan Rahami, who was wanted for questioning in an explosion in New York, which authorities believe is linked to the explosive devices found in New Jersey, in Elizabeth, U.S., September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
ELIZABETH, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement officials investigate a residence in connection to Saturday night's bombing in Manhattan on September 19, 2016 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This morning law enforcement released a photograph of 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, who they are seeking in connection to the attack in Chelsea. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
ELIZABETH, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement officials investigate a residence in connection to Saturday night's bombing in Manhattan on September 19, 2016 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This morning law enforcement released a photograph of 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, who they are seeking in connection to the attack in Chelsea. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
ELIZABETH, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement officials work near a residence they are investigating in connection to Saturday night's bombing in Manhattan on September 19, 2016 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This morning law enforcement released a photograph of 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, who they are seeking in connection to the attack in Chelsea. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
ELIZABETH, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement officials investigate a residence in connection to Saturday night's bombing in Manhattan on September 19, 2016 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This morning law enforcement released a photograph of 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, who they are seeking in connection to the attack in Chelsea. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
ELIZABETH, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: A local police officer stands guard at an intersection as members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement officials investigate a residence in connection to Saturday night's bombing in Manhattan on September 19, 2016 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This morning law enforcement released a photograph of 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, who they are seeking in connection to the attack in Chelsea. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
ELIZABETH, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement officials investigate a residence in connection to Saturday night's bombing in Manhattan on September 19, 2016 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This morning law enforcement released a photograph of 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, who they are seeking in connection to the attack in Chelsea. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
***WANTED FOR QUESTIONING**** RETWEET! https://t.co/B3IgarqY2D https://t.co/QUjCFdtVc2
ELIZABETH, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: Law enforcement officials tow a car near the site of an investigation of a residence in connection to Saturday night's bombing in Manhattan, September 19, 2016 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. On Monday morning, law enforcement released a photograph of 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, who they are seeking in connection to the attack. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) personnel search an address during an investigation into Ahmad Khan Rahami, who was wanted for questioning in an explosion in New York, which authorities believe is linked to the explosive devices found in New Jersey, in Elizabeth, U.S., September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
ELIZABETH, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: A man exits from the fried chicken restaurant and walks to a car, near the site of where members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement officials are investigating a residence in connection to Saturday night's bombing in Manhattan, September 19, 2016 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. On Monday morning, law enforcement released a photograph of 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, who they are seeking in connection to the attack. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Policemen place in an ambulance a man they identified as Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is wanted for questioning in connection with an explosion in New York City, in Linden, New Jersey, in this still image taken from video September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Anthony Genaro
A policeman takes a photo of a man they identified as Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is wanted for questioning in connection with an explosion in New York City, as he is placed into an ambulance in Linden, New Jersey, in this still image taken from video September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Anthony Genaro TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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The Times reports that an EgyptAir official says the Ali and Radwan had just thought they had found a pot in the bag, and that Mr. Ali didn't want to have to fly the pot back to Cairo. "You know, we see things left on the street in New York all the time," the official told the Times, "Stuff no one wants. It's normal to take them."

The two men are apparently now very unnerved that they are wanted as witnesses in the case, as they had no idea they were involved until the Egyptian press started calling them for comment. The Times also notes that the last public post Radwan published on his Facebook page, the day before the bombing, was a video imploring that people not associate Islam with terrorism.

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