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IED Explodes In New York City; 29 People Injured: Bomb Was “An Intentional Act” Mayor Says

Summary of the latest news surrounding the explosion of an IED in midtown Manhattan on Saturday night:

  • A powerful explosion caused by what authorities say was a homemade bomb set off in a sidewalk dumpster on 23rd Street (between 6h and 7th Ave.) at 8:30pm on Saturday night, injured at least 29 people; a second explosive device was also found four blocks away. The explosion, which occurred around 8:30 p.m., prompted the shutdown of a wide swath of Manhattan south of Midtown. The Police Department said at 1:15 a.m. Sunday that 14th Street to 32nd Street was closed to traffic between Fifth and Eighth Avenues until further notice.
  • The explosion shattered windows, damaged cars and sent crowds running from the scene. “I heard a big boom,” said Luke McConnell, who was visiting from Colorado and had been headed toward a restaurant on West 27th Street. “I felt it, like a concussive wave, heading towards me.” “Then there was a cloud of white smoke that came from the left side of 23rd Street near Sixth,” he said. “There was no fire, just smoke.”
  • A law enforcement official said investigators were trying to figure out who was behind the explosion and what the motivations might have been. “It likely came from an improvised device,” said one city official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a continuing investigation. “We don’t understand the target or the significance of it. It’s by a pile of Dumpsters on a random sidewalk.
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio speaking at a news conference at the scene, said “injuries are significant” but for the moment none were life-threatening. The mayor called the explosion “an intentional act” but initially said there was no connection to terrorism. He cautioned that the authorities had just begun their investigation into the blast, which took place just days after the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. “Whatever the cause,” Mr. de Blasio said, “New Yorkers will not be intimidated.”
  • Many of the injuries were caused by shrapnel from the explosion, which witnesses said seemed to have come from a sidewalk dumpster on West 23rd Street, whose images quickly proliferated on Twitter.

  • A second IED device, found on West 27th Street, was described as resembling a pressure cooker like the one used in the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, an official said. A senior police official confirmed that photographs of the device shared on social media, which showed a silver piece of cookware with wires and a cellphone attached, were authentic. The official said the Police Department’s bomb squad was taking the device to a department facility, where robots would inspect it. The official said investigators “don’t have any suspects” and were not questioning anyone.

  • Video captured before the explosion shows a man crossing “the street in the direction of where the device was found.” But no video had yet been obtained clearly showing anyone placing the device in the spot where it detonated. Pressed on who might be responsible for the incident, James P. O’Neill, the police commissioner, said no suspect was in custody. “We are still in the process of trying to figure that out,” he said. O’Neill said the authorities had collected video of the explosion but asked the public for any footage they might have, as well as eyewitness accounts and tips. A video of the 23rd Street scene just before the IED went off has been released moments ago:

  • The police commissioner said that residents along 23rd Street were being allowed back in their homes and that there was no need for mandatory evacuations.
  • The White House issued a brief statement saying that President Obama had been briefed on the developing situation in New York.  “The president has been apprised of the explosion in New York City, the cause of which remains under investigation,” the statement said. “The president will be updated as additional information becomes available.”
  • Both presidential candidates broke from campaign routines to address the issue. Donald J. Trump, weighed in on the news while campaigning in Colorado Springs on Saturday night. “I must tell you that just before I got off the plane, a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows exactly what’s going on,” he said. “But boy, we are living in a time — we better get very tough, folks.” Hillary Clinton, was informed of the episode after she gave a speech at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual awards dinner, her campaign said.
  • According to the NYT, the explosion was not connected to a blast that happened 11 hours before as reported here, when an improvised device exploded in a garbage can near the course of a charity race that was about to start in a small town on the Jersey Shore. That device went off around 9:30 a.m. near the boardwalk in Seaside Park, N.J., according to the Ocean County sheriff, Michael G. Mastronardy. There were no injuries. The race, the Seaside Semper Five, a five-kilometer run and charity event along the waterfront that raises money for members of the United States Marine Corps and their families, was canceled.

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Earlier:

 Update 2: Fox News is reporting a second explosion on 27th street.  The NYPD reportedly moved the media to safety before the blast indicating that it may have been a controlled explosion by police.  The device is believed to be a “pressure cooker” device similar to the one used in the Boston Marathon bombing with a cell phone and wires attached.   

 

 

 

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Update 1:  The NYPD has potentially located a 2nd device on 27th Street in Manhattan.

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An explosion occurred at 8:30PM this evening in New York City at 135 23rd Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenue).  Early reports suggested the explosion came from an improvised explosive device (IED) stuffed inside a dumpster. 

Mayor De Blasio confirmed at a press conference earlier that the explosion was believed to be an “intentional act” though noted there are no known links to any terrorist organizations at this time.

The NYPD has confirmed that 29 people have sustained injuries and 1 is in serious condition.

The NYPD Counterterrorism Unit has arrived at the scene and is conducting searches for other devices.  At least two buildings were evacuated in the vicinity of the incident.

Earlier today a pipe bomb exploded in Seaside Park, New Jersey, as about 5,000 people were set to run a 5k Marine charity race (see: “Pipe Bomb Explodes At Marine Charity Run In New Jersey“).  It is unknown at this time if the two events are linked.