Authorities also were able to identify the suspect with the help of a cell phone left behind with a pressure cooker found on West 27th Street — blocks away from the explosion on West 23rd Street, a source told ABC News.
A law enforcement official told The Times there was no direct evidence yet linking Rahami to ISIS or Al Qaeda.
“We don’t know his particular ideology or what his inspiration was or whether he was directed or whether he was inspired,” the official said. “We don’t have any of that.
“So, the ideology, the connection to international terrorism, we might flesh that out as we go through the results of search warrants, looking for computers, discs, things like this. Search warrants that we did Sunday night at the residence in Elizabeth,” the official added.
“Here’s a guy who has been involved in what appears to be four bombings in rapid succession in recent days in crowded places,” the official said. “So we need to get him.”
A senior law enforcement official told NBC News that officials believe Rahami is the man seen in surveillance video taken Saturday night in Chelsea.
Rahami is about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs about 200 pounds. He has brown hair, brown eyes and brown facial hair.
FBI agents and members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives raided an apartment where Rahami lives above the family’s restaurant — First American Fried Chicken — on Elmora Avenue.
Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage said at a press conference that Rahami’s father, Muhammad, opened the 24-hour-a-day eatery about 10 years ago and employed his sons,
Neighbors complained about the restaurant, which attracted noisy crowds – some of whom urinated on people’s properties.
The City Council voted to shut it down by 10 p.m., but neighbors said the Rahamis ignored the directive and sued the mayor, the city and about 20 cops – claiming ethnic and racial discrimination.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo now believes there may be a “foreign connection” with the explosion Saturday night in Chelsea.
“I suspect there may be a foreign connection,” Cuomo told CBS News. “That’s what we are hearing today, as the investigation goes on.”
Cuomo hedged, however, suggesting that it is still unknown where the investigation will end up.
“But, again, I was the former attorney general in New York and I did many — I participated in many of these investigations. They take different twists and turns. So you want to be careful what you say early on because you want to protect the information, but that would be my guess,” he said.
Cuomo refused to say whether he believed ISIS was directly behind this attack –and the possibly related attacks in New Jersey.
The White House said President Obama was briefed throughout the night and early Monday on the investigation.
Spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama – who planned to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi during the UN General Assembly in Manhattan, would comment publicly “relatively soon.”
Ryan McCann, 33, said Rahami has been working behind the counter at his father’s eatery for about five years.
“He’s a very friendly guy, very Americanized. You would never expect anything like this. It’s terrifying because he’s been hiding in plain sight,” McCann told The Post.
Speaking at a press conference, Elizabeth’s mayor said “you have to wonder how many people could have been hurt.”
“I’m extremely concerned for the residents of the community, but more importantly extremely concerned for everyone in the state and country where someone can just go and drop a backpack into a garbage can that has multiple explosives in it,” Bollwage said. ”
The unexploded pressure cooker, which was found on West 27th Street and defused safely after the blast on West 23rd Street, was sent to the FBI in Virginia for forensic examination.
Meanwhile, the FBI agents arrested five men of Muslim descent who may be connected to the Chelsea blast after stopping their car in Brooklyn, a source said.
The men were heading over the Verrazano Bridge from Staten Island when they were stopped Sunday night.
Sources said the FBI suspected the men may have had a role in the bombing and were questioning them at the FBI headquarters in Manhattan.
It is believed the men, who live in New Jersey, were heading to the airport when they were busted.
The Chelsea bomb contained a residue of Tannerite, an explosive often used for target practice that can be picked up in many sporting goods stores, a federal official said Sunday.
Cellphones were discovered at the site of the bombings, but no Tannerite residue was identified in the New Jersey bomb remnants, in which a black powder was detected, said the official, who wasn’t authorized to comment on an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Also on Sunday, FBI agents searched an Uber driver’s vehicle that had been badly damaged in the Chelsea blast after the driver picked up three passengers.
Meanwhile, A backpack that appeared to contain pipe bombs exploded early Monday as a police robot examined it near a New Jersey train station.