The wife of Ahmed Khan Rahami, the prime suspect in a string of bombings spanning from Manhattan to the Jersey shore this weekend, fled to Pakistan days before Rahami allegedly planted bombs throughout the tri-state area, according to multiple reports.
The Daily Mail notes that the Los Angeles Times has reported that the wife, whose name has not been released, has left the country. The Times reported Monday that Rahami’s wife, a Pakistani native, left the country for Pakistan “just days before the bombings.” She was reportedly halted on her way to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, where she stopped as police began looking into Rahami over the attacks. The report did not mention whether the wife reached her ultimate destination or remains in the UAE.
The Daily Mail also claims that ABC News reported that Rahami’s mother had fled the Turkey three weeks before the string of attacks his past weekend, but Breitbart News could not independently find the ABC News report in question. Some sources have identified the mother as Najiba Rahami, though this name has not been confirmed.
The local radio station NJ 101.5 FM identified a 51-year-old woman named Najiba Rahami as a “person of interest” on Sunday, noting that her relationship to Ahmed Rahami was unclear, and that she had been arrested on child abuse charges.
CNN confirmed the information regarding Rahami’s wife, but not his mother. “Authorities are working with officials in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates to get access to her and to ask questions about what she knew,” CNN reports, citing an unnamed U.S. official.
Little is known about the woman in question other than her origin. New Jersey Congressman Albio Sires shed some light on Rahami’s relationship with her during an interview Monday night, where he noted that Rahami had reached out to his office in 2014 for help in bringing her into the United States. “I assume she did,” the Congressman said when asked whether she had managed to enter the country. She was reportedly pregnant and needed to wait to have her child before being allowed to immigrate. The delay involved the expiration of her passport; CNN notes: “the consulate wouldn’t give her an immigrant visa until the passport was renewed, Sires said.”
Police are currently investigating the Rahami family, as they all lived together in one apartment above their business, First American Fried Chicken in Elizabeth, New Jersey. NJ Advance Media reports that, in addition to the wife and mother, one of Rahami’s brothers has posted questionable material on his social media accounts. “A man believed to be Rahami’s brother posted videos celebrating the preaching of Anwar al-Awlaki,” an influential U.S.-born jihadi imam, the outlet reports, adding that another social media post accused the United States of orchestrating the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Rahami’s father, meanwhile, reportedly has ties to the jihadi groups operating in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. According to a friend of Rahami’s, Jonathan Wagner, “Mohammad Rahami told him he was from Kandahar and had been part of the mujahedeen in Afghanistan that fought the Soviet Army,” the same militia Osama bin Laden fought with. Wagner claimed “the elder Rahami was dubious of the Taliban and detested ISIS.”
Rahami is considered the prime suspect in a string of bombings that began in the quiet shore town of Seaside Park, New Jersey, on Saturday, and continued in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and in Rahami’s native Elizabeth, where authorities found a bookbag stocked with five improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
In addition to the child believed to be had with his wife, Rahami has a daughter with a New Jersey woman who told Fox News she has not seen him in two years and that Rahami was a “deadbeat” who hated America and never paid child support.
“He would speak often of Western culture and how it was different back home, How there weren’t homosexuals in Afghanistan,” she told the outlet. On one occasion, she saw Rahami tell their daughter “that’s the bad person” about a woman in a U.S. military uniform on television.
“I didn’t want him to see my daughter,” the woman, identified only as “Maria,” said. “If he loved her, he would have paid child support. My greatest fear is that he would try to take my daughter.”
Rahami was born in Afghanistan but became a naturalized U.S. citizen. He traveled back to Afghanistan on multiple occasions, and made the trip into Quetta and Karachi, Pakistan during extended trips, both cities with terror footprints. When he returned, friends told the New York Times, Rahami began wearing Islamic robes and praying in the back of his family’s fried chicken restaurant.