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‘He’s been hiding in plain sight’

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Terror suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami is in custody after a shootout with police over bombings in the US.

This undated photo provided by the New Jersey State Police shows Ahmad Khan Rahami. Picture: New Jersey State Police via AP.

A PICTURE is starting to emerge of the man believed to be responsible for the explosion in New York on Saturday night and an earlier bombing in New Jersey.

Ahmad Khan Rahami was taken into custody after a shootout with police officers in Linden, New Jersey on Monday morning local time.

Ahmad Khan Rahami is taken into custody after a shootout with police Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, in Linden, N.J. Picture: AP..

Ahmad Khan Rahami is taken into custody after a shootout with police Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, in Linden, N.J. Picture: AP..Source:AP

Rahami was born on January 23, 1988, in Afghanistan. He was described as a naturalised citizen who had been living with his family in Elizabeth, not far from where he was arrested.

Associates told the New York Times that several years ago Rahami travelled to Afghanistan and when he returned he showed signs of radicalisation.

He was not on federal or NYPD terror watch lists and officials said on Monday that they did not believe he was part of a terror cell.

But he was known to police and spent time in jail on an assault charge, a law enforcement official said.

New York City police commissioner James O'Neill stands with Mayor Bill de Blasio as he holds up a picture of Ahmad Khan Rahami at a news conference at NYC on September 19, 2016. Picture: AFP.

New York City police commissioner James O’Neill stands with Mayor Bill de Blasio as he holds up a picture of Ahmad Khan Rahami at a news conference at NYC on September 19, 2016. Picture: AFP.Source:AFP

Rahami was imprisoned in Union County jail from August 25 to November 4, 2014 on a weapons and aggravated assault charge, the New York Times reported, citing an official. No details were immediately available.

Rahami also spent a day in jail in February 2012 for violating a restraining order, the official said.

Rahami also sued police in 2011 for subjecting him and his family to discrimination and “selective enforcement”, according to court documents.

He brought the lawsuit along with his father, 53-year-old Mohammad Sr, and his brother, Mohammad.

The Rahami family sued the city of Elizabeth and several police officers, alleging they had been inappropriately cited for keeping their business open past 10pm and harassed by police.

Investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) search inside the family restaurant and adjoined apartment of Ahmad Khan Rahami in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on September 19, 2016. Picture: AFP.

Investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) search inside the family restaurant and adjoined apartment of Ahmad Khan Rahami in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on September 19, 2016. Picture: AFP.Source:AFP

They claimed a man in the neighbourhood told them, “You are Muslims” and “Muslims make too much trouble in this country” and complained unfairly to police, who singled them out “solely on animus against [their] religion, creed, race and national origin,” according to court records.

Several members of the family owned and operated the First American Fried Chicken restaurant since 2002, court records show.

Ryan McCann told the New York Post that Rahami has been working behind the counter at his father’s eatery for about five years.

Ahmad Khan Rahami was wanted for questioning in the bombings that rocked the Chelsea neighbourhood of New York and the New Jersey shore town of Seaside Park. Picture: AP.

Ahmad Khan Rahami was wanted for questioning in the bombings that rocked the Chelsea neighbourhood of New York and the New Jersey shore town of Seaside Park. Picture: AP.Source:AP

“He’s a very friendly guy, very Americanised. You would never expect anything like this. It’s terrifying because he’s been hiding in plain sight,” McCann said.

“All this guy ever talks about is his cars. He loves fixing cars up and making them fast. All I ever heard him talk about was Honda Civics, Honda Accords, maybe an Acura. He would soup them up,” said McCann, who frequently eats at the fried chicken restaurant.

The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice in 2012, reports the independent, meaning it cannot be brought forward again. It was not clear if a settlement was reached.