- The Washington Times - Monday, September 19, 2016

President Obama tried to reassure Americans Monday after bombings in the New York region, saying authorities are working to “get to the bottom of what happened” and downplaying a possible link to international terrorism.

Speaking around the same time that police captured bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami, Mr. Obama said the investigation is”moving rapidly.”

The president said federal authorities see no connection “at this point” between the bombings and a suspected extremist who injured several people in a knife attack at a mall in Minnesota, which the FBI is investigating as a possible act of terrorism.

SEE ALSO: Suspect in Manhattan, New Jersey bombings in custody after shootout with police

While the president didn’t characterize the explosions in New York City and Seaside Park, New Jersey, as acts of terrorism, he said the Islamic State “is instigating a lot of people over the Internet to carry out attacks.”

“They are trying to hurt innocent people, but they are also trying to instill fear in all of us,” Mr. Obama said. “We all have a role to play as citizens in making sure we don’t succumb to that fear.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said the violence in the New York region and in Minnesota demonstrated that the Obama administration and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton are failing to address terrorism effectively.

“Under the leadership of Obama & Clinton, Americans have experienced more attacks at home than victories abroad. Time to change the playbook!” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.

Mr. Obama praised New Yorkers for their response to the attacks.

“Folks around here, they don’t get scared,” Mr. Obama said. “They’re tough; they’re resilient. They go about their business every single day.”

The president, who is in New York City for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, said “we are extremely fortunate and grateful that nobody was killed” in the weekend bombings in New York and New Jersey.

Mr. Obama was apparently unaware of the capture of Rahami, 28, a native of Afghanistan who was taken into custody in Linden, New Jersey, after a reported “active shooter” situation. Television video showed the bloodied suspect being taken away in an ambulance on a stretcher.

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