Aziza Bibi Rahami, wife of Ahmed Khan Rahami, has returned to the United States with an escort after she traveled to her native Pakistan days before authorities believe her husband planted explosives in three different locations in the New York/New Jersey area, injuring 31 people.
The Los Angeles Times initially reported that Rahami’s wife had flown en route to Pakistan days before a bomb went off in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, and had been stopped in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for questioning. NBC News now tells a modified version of that story: Aziza Bibi Rahami left for Pakistan in June, and was stopped in the UAE on the way back to the United States after spending the summer there.
There are conflicting reports regarding when Rahami will arrive in the United States – or whether she has already. NBC reports that Aziza Bibi Rahami should be arriving in New York on Thursday night or early Friday morning, and she will be escorted off the plane separately from the other passengers, according to law enforcement sources. She is not, however, being treated as a suspect.
NBC adds that Rahami’s wife allegedly told police she knew nothing of her husband’s plot to build and detonate multiple bombs across the Garden State and in Manhattan.
New Jersey’s NJ Advance Media is reporting, however, that Mrs. Rahami has already landed at JFK airport in Manhattan. “Asia Bibi Rahami arrived at JFK airport in New York on Wednesday night and will be questioned by authorities, the source said,” the report states. “Information about where she is currently is not being released, the source said.”
CBS News’ report is similar to NJ Advance Media, stating that Mrs. Rahami has already arrived in the United States. All reports on this matter have cited anonymous law enforcement sources so far. CBS adds the detail that Mrs. Rahami voluntarily returned to the United States and has been cooperative, unlike her husband, who remains hospitalized for gunshot wounds received during the shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey that led to his capture.
ABC News has released a photo of Mrs. Rahami:
— Joshua Hoyos (@JoshuaHoyos) September 20, 2016
The Wall Street Journal, in a report Thursday, notes that the evidence against Rahami suggests he did little to hide the fact that he was planning to plant bombs in public places. A video recovered from the mobile phone of one of his sisters shows Rahami testing explosives in the family’s backyard in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Police are focusing on investigating Rahami’s family, as it does not appear Rahami did anything to hide his plot from them. Relatives have asserted they knew nothing of his plans, however, and his father reminded reporters that he reported his son to the FBI as a potential terrorist in 2014.
Rahami married his wife in Pakistan in 2011, during an extended visit to both Pakistan and his native Afghanistan (Rahami is a naturalized citizen). In 2014, Rahami called the office of Congressman Albio Sires – who does not represent Elizabeth or Perth Amboy, the cities Rahami had registered residences in – requesting aid in bringing his wife into the United States. Sires has told media outlets that Rahami was not allowed to file for entry to the United States at the time because she was pregnant, and would have to jointly file with her child when the child was born. Sires says he “assumed” that she made it into the country.