New York mayor says Chelsea blast was ‘intentional’

Explosion rocked Chelsea, a crowded Manhattan neighbourhood, injuring 29 people

Police and firefighters work near the scene of an apparent explosion in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, in New York, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016. A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that an explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood appears to have come from a construction toolbox in front of a building. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to speak about an ongoing investigation. More than two dozen people have sustained minor injuries in the explosion on West 23rd Street.(AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Police and firefighters in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016. (Andres Kudacki, AP)

NEW YORK — An explosion rocked a crowded Manhattan neighbourhood and injured 29 people, and a suspicious device discovered blocks away was safely removed early Sunday. Mayor Bill de Blasio ruled out any terror connections but called the blast an “intentional act.”

“Tonight, New York City experienced a very bad incident,” de Blasio said at a news conference near the scene in Chelsea. “We have no credible and specific threat at this moment.”

De Blasio tried to calm any fears among nervous New Yorkers, saying the explosion had no terrorist connection and wasn’t related to a pipe bomb explosion earlier Saturday in New Jersey that forced the cancellation of a charity run.

“Now, I want to be clear: Whatever the cause, whatever the intention here, New Yorkers will not be intimidated,” the mayor said. “We are not going to let anyone change who we are or how we go about our lives.”

It was unclear who was behind the blast and what motivated it.

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that a second device that officers investigated four blocks from the scene appeared to be a pressure cooker attached to wiring and a cellphone. The official, who was not authorized to speak about an ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the device was found inside a plastic bag on West 27th Street. The device was removed with a robot and taken to a department firing range in the Bronx.

The law enforcement official also said that the explosion that rocked a bustling Chelsea neighbourhood appeared to have come from a construction toolbox in front of a building. Photos from the scene show a twisted and crumpled black metal box.

The blast happened on West 23rd Street, in front of a residence for the blind, near a major thoroughfare with many restaurants and a Trader Joe’s supermarket. Witnesses said the explosion at about 8:30 p.m. blew out the windows of businesses and scattered debris in the area. Officials said no evacuations were necessary.

The Fire Department of New York said 24 people were taken to hospitals with injuries. One person received a puncture wound that was considered serious. The other injuries were described as scrapes and bruises.

New York City subway routes were affected by the explosion, which rattled some New Yorkers and visitors on the heels of the 15th anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks.

Chris Gonzalez, visiting from Dallas, was having dinner with friends at a restaurant in the area.

“We felt it. We heard it,” Gonzalez said. “It wasn’t like jolting or anything. Everyone just went quiet.”

Rudy Alcide, a bouncer at Vanity Nightclub at 21st Street and 6th Avenue, said he, at first, thought something large had fallen.

“It was an extremely loud noise. Everything was shaking, the windows were shaking,” he said. “It was extremely loud, almost like thunder but louder.”

The FBI and Homeland Security officials, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arson and explosive task force, were at the scene.

The White House said President Barack Obama was apprised of the explosion.

In St. Cloud, Minnesota, police said at least eight people were injured at a shopping mall Saturday evening in a stabbing attack. The suspect was shot dead by an off-duty police officer.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said she had been briefed “about the bombings in New York and New Jersey and the attack in Minnesota.”

She says the nation needs to support its first responders and “pray for the victims.”

“We have to let this investigation unfold,” she said.

Donald Trump moved ahead of New York City officials when he declared a “bomb went off” before officials had released details. He made the announcement minutes after stepping off his plane in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“I must tell you that just before I got off the plane a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows what’s going on,” Trump said.

He continued, “But boy we are living in a time — we better get very tough, folks. We better get very, very tough. It’s a terrible thing that’s going on in our world, in our country and we are going to get tough and smart and vigilant.”

The Republican presidential nominee made the comments around 9:10 p.m., shortly after the explosion and as emergency officials responded to the blast. A spokeswoman for Trump did not respond to an email asking whether he was briefed about it before taking the stage.

The Manhattan blast came hours after a pipe bomb exploded in Seaside Park, New Jersey, shortly before thousands of runners were due to participate in a charity 5K race to benefit Marines and sailors. The run was cancelled, and no injuries were reported.

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New York mayor says Chelsea blast was ‘intentional’

  1. How exactly is it that these aren’t terrorist attacks? Oh that’s right, de Blasio is a Democrat and admitting that terrorist attacks occurred would be hurtful to Hillary’s campaign. If she’s smart (doubtful at this point) she comes right out and calls it a terrorist attack and doesn’t take it lightly. Otherwise people will say that she is soft on terror, which will play right into Trump’s hands.

    • Why would you call it a ‘terrorist’ attack if it isn’t?

      • If it’s not a terrorist attack, what the hell is it? An accident? No matter who set that bomb off and for whatever political reason, it’s an act of terror.

        • If you guys are going to panic and head for the bunker everytime something blows up, then don’t buy a Samsung phone or use an e-cig.

          Get a grip.

          • Lol, what? How am I panicking by calling it a terrorist act? It wasn’t a Samsung, it was an IED in a dumpster in Manhattan. Over 20 people were injured, 1 critically. There was another IED found 4 blocks away that didn’t go off. Obviously someone was trying to spread terror with this attack, no matter who did it. Not sure what your angle is here, but I am sure that there’s something seriously wrong with how your brain works.

        • Coulda been a neighbourhood row….or a gang fight….or kids horsing around

          Right away you head for the hills.


          • lol

          • The FBI have identified a suspect they believe to be connected to the Elizabeth devices, the explosion in Chelsea Saturday, which injured 29 people, and the bomb in Seaside, NJ: 28-year-old naturalized citizen Ahmad Khan Rahami, originally from Afghanistan.

            Nothing to see here folks. This is obviously just the work of some playful kids, up to some harmless mischief. Definitely not terror related. Time to drop this story and ask Clinton some hard hitting questions, like how her weekend was.

  2. Let’s not jump to conclusions here folks…..there exists a slight, tiny, microscopic chance that this wasn’t committed by Muslims.

    • So you mean the Caliphate in the ME blew up a garbage pail at a random place in NY

      And you’re afraid of these people?