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Author Topic: Car Bomb Found in Times Square 5/1/10  (Read 1213 times)
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MuffyBee
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« on: May 02, 2010, 10:15:44 AM »

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36892505/ns/us_news-security
(Video)
Could have been a very deadly event’
Official: Evidence is being recovered from car bomb found in Times Square
May 2, 2010


Police investigate the vehicle said to hold an "amateurish" but potentially powerful bomb in Times Square.
Additional Photos at Article Link

NEW YORK - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that authorities were recovering evidence from the car bomb discovered in New York's Time Square.

Police found the "amateurish" but potentially powerful bomb in a smoking sport utility vehicle in the busy theater district on Saturday night, then cleared the streets of thousands of tourists so they could dismantle it.

The vehicle was removed and most of Times Square was reopened on Sunday morning, NBC reported.
Officials were treating the incident as a potential terrorist attack, Napolitano said, though it was too soon to tell who is responsible. She added that investigators had no suspects but that they had recovered forensic evidence, including fingerprints, from the vehicle.

"We avoided what we could have been a very deadly event," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a press conference earlier on Sunday. "It certainly could have exploded and had a pretty big fire and a decent amount of explosive impact."

The mayor commended the actions of a T-shirt vendor — a Vietnam veteran, he said — who alerted a mounted policeman of an "unoccupied suspicious vehicle." The policeman observed that the SUV had smoke emerging from vents near the back seat and smelled of gunpowder.

'Crossroads of the World'
After the vendor noticed the SUV, police cleared buildings and streets at the so-called "Crossroads of the World"; the area remained closed hours later. Officers were deployed around the area with heavy weapons on empty streets in the heart of busy midtown Manhattan.

A white robotic police arm then broke the windows of the dark colored Nissan pathfinder to remove any explosive devices.

Investigators removed three propane tanks, consumer-grade fireworks, two filled 5-gallon gasoline containers, and two clocks with batteries, electrical wire and other components, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

A black metal box resembling a gun locker was also recovered.

"I think the intent was to cause a significant ball of fire," Kelly said.

While he called the device "amateurish," Bloomberg said it could have been deadly.

"We are very lucky," he said.
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  " Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."  - Daniel Moynihan
MuffyBee
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2010, 10:21:45 AM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/03/nyregion/03timessquare.html
‘Very Lucky,’ Mayor Says, After Bomb
May 2, 2010

A crude car bomb of propane, gasoline and fireworks was discovered in a smoking Nissan Pathfinder in the heart of Times Square on Saturday evening, prompting the evacuation of thousands of tourists and theatergoers on a warm and busy night. Although the device had apparently started to detonate, there was no explosion, and early on Sunday the authorities were still seeking a suspect and motive.

“We are very lucky,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said at a 2:15 a.m. press conference. “We avoided what could have been a very deadly event.”

A large swath of Midtown — from 43rd Street to 48th Street, and from Sixth to Eighth Avenues — was closed for much of the evening after the Pathfinder was discovered just off Broadway on 45th Street. Several theaters and stores, as well as the South Tower of the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel, were evacuated.

Mr. Bloomberg was joined by Gov. David A. Paterson, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and other officials at the early morning press conference to give a chronology of the vehicle’s discovery, its disarming, and the investigation that has been launched. The mayor and police commissioner had returned early from the annual White House correspondents’ dinner in Washington.

At 6:28 p.m., Mr. Kelly said, a video surveillance camera recorded what was believed to be the dark green Nissan S.U.V. driving west on 45th Street.

Moments later, a T-shirt vendor on the sidewalk saw smoke coming out of vents near the back seat of the S.U.V., which was now parked awkwardly at the curb with its engine running and its hazard lights on. The vendor called to a mounted police officer, the mayor said, who smelled gunpowder when he approached the S.U.V. and called for assistance. The police began evacuating Times Square, starting with businesses along Seventh Avenue, including a Foot Locker store and a McDonald’s.

Police officers from the emergency service unit and firefighters flooded the area and were troubled by the hazard lights and running engine, and by the fact that the S.U.V. was oddly angled in the street. At this point, a firefighter from Ladder 4 reported hearing several “pops” from within the vehicle. The police also learned that the Pathfinder had the wrong license plates on it.

Members of the Police Department’s bomb squad donned protective gear, broke the Pathfinder’s back windows and sent in a “robotic device” to “observe” it, said Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, the police department’s chief spokesman.

Inside, they discovered three canisters of propane like those used for barbecue grills, two five-gallon cans of gasoline, consumer-grade fireworks — the apparent source of the “pops” — and two clocks with batteries, the mayor said. He said the device “looked amateurish.”

Mr. Browne said: “It appeared it was in the process of detonating, but it malfunctioned.”

Bomb squad officers also discovered a two-by-two-by-four-foot metal box — described as a “gun locker” — in the S.U.V. that was taken to the Police Department’s firing range at Rodman’s Neck in the Bronx to be destroyed, Mr. Kelly said. It was not immediately known what, if anything, was inside it.

Officials said they had no reports of anyone seen running from the vehicle. Mr. Kelly said police were scouring the area for any additional videotapes but noted that the S.U.V.’s windows were tinted, which could further hamper any efforts to identify those inside. Some of the surveillance cameras nearby were located in closed businesses, and the mayor made clear it would take time to review all available tapes.

“We have no idea who did this or why,” Mr. Bloomberg said.

Kevin B. Barry, a former supervisor in the New York Police Department bomb squad, said that if the device had functioned, “it would be more of an incendiary event” than an explosion.

The license plates on the Nissan were registered to another vehicle — a Ford pickup truck that was taken to a junkyard near Bridgeport, Conn., within the last two weeks, according to a law enforcement official. The previous owner of the Ford was interviewed Saturday night by the F.B.I., but it did not appear he was regarded as a suspect. Still, the junkyard was considered a primary target of the initial investigation.

The S.U.V.’s standard vehicle identification number had been removed, Mr. Bloomberg said, and investigators were scouring it to see if the number appeared elsewhere.

The White House said President Obama had been briefed on the episode and had pledged federal assistance in the investigation.

Around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, the T-shirt vendor who first alerted the police returned to the scene, along with several other vendors whom he worked with.

“I’m fed up,” said the vendor, who declined to give his name, but said that he was a Vietnam veteran. “We’ve been up since 6 a.m. of yesterday morning.”

The vendor, who wore a white fedora, had a limp and walked with a cane, was swarmed by television cameras as he tried to make his way to a taxicab on 44th Street.

As he got into the taxi, he was asked by a reporter what he had to say to New Yorkers.

“See something, say something,” he said.

Times Square on a Saturday night is one of the busiest and most populated locations in the city, and has long been seen as a likely target for some kind of attack.

Most of the streets that had been closed around Times Square reopened around 5:15 a.m.; traffic on 45th Street opened at 7:30 a.m., about 90 minutes after the Pathfinder had been towed away.

For most of the night, a maze of metal barricades kept pedestrians south of 43rd Street. In the center of Times Square, dozens of police and fire vehicles were parked on Broadway and Seventh Avenue, but in Times Square between 42nd and 43rd Streets, tourists milled or sat at tables, much as they do on any other Saturday night. On Eighth Avenue at around 11:30 p.m., people carrying theater playbills were directed west on 44th Street out to Eighth Avenue.

On Eighth Avenue police officers used large pieces of orange netting to corral pedestrians and separate them from traffic.

Many people stayed to watch after being shut out of Broadway shows or prevented from getting back to their hotels, trading rumors about what was happening. Many guests at the New York Marriott Marquis hotel at 1535 Broadway were being kept in an auditorium at the hotel, Mr. Kelly said.

Some theaters were evacuated, but many were not, according to a spokeswoman for the Broadway League, the trade group of theater owners and producers. The spokeswoman, Elisa Shevitz, said she would not have all the details about how many theaters were affected until Sunday.

For some Broadway shows the curtains went up 15 to 30 minutes late. Shows that started late included “Red” and “God of Carnage” — which are both playing at houses on the block of 45th Street where the bomb was found — and “In the Heights.”

Onlookers crowded against the barricades, taking pictures with cellphones, although only a swarm of fire trucks and police cars was visible.

Pota Manolakos, an accountant from Montreal, was not able to return to her room at the Edison Hotel with her husband and 6-year-old son for several hours.

She said she asked a police officer what was going on, and the officer told her: “Lady, take your kid and get out of here. There’s a threat, take your kid and get out of here.”

“We have nothing with us except for what we have on,” Ms. Manolakos said.

Gabrielle Zecha and Taj Heniser, visiting from Seattle, had tickets to see “Next to Normal” at the Booth Theater on 45th Street but could not get into the 8 p.m. show because the area was blocked off. But they made the best of the spectacle. “It’s a whole different kind of show,” Ms. Heniser said, adding, “It’s almost the equivalent of a $150 show.”

A group of people on a high school senior trip from Jacksonville, Fla., said they were stuck for about an hour and a half in the Bubba Gump restaurant at 44th Street and Seventh Avenue.

“A lot of people were getting tense who were there longer than we were,” said Billy Wilkerson, 39, a police sergeant in Jacksonville and a chaperone for the trip. “It’s so good to get out, but it was exhilarating.”

He said he was impressed by his New York counterparts. “I just sat back and learned a lot,” he said.

Fabyane Pereira, 35, a tourist from Brazil, said the episode would not deter her from another visit. “I feel sorry for America,” she said. “I’m at your guys’ side.”

In December, the police closed Times Square for nearly two hours as they investigated a suspiciously parked van, delaying the rehearsal of the New Year’s ball drop. However, the van turned out to contain nothing but clothing.
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2010, 08:37:33 PM »

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/top/all/6986618.html
NYPD: Car bomb contained nonexplosive fertilizer
May 2, 2010

 NEW YORK — New York City police investigating a botched car bombing in Times Square say the bomb contained fertilizer that was incapable of exploding.

Top police spokesman Paul Browne says more than 100 pounds of a substance found in the back of an SUV parked on a busy city street near a theater showing "The Lion King" was fertilizer.

But unlike the ammonium nitrate grade fertilizer that has been used in terror attacks including the Oklahoma City bombing, Browne says this fertilizer would not have caused a massive explosion.

Police are trying to determine what was in the homemade bomb, why it failed and who was responsible for the botched bombing, which sent thousands of tourists into a panic on Saturday night.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

NEW YORK (AP) — Police investigating a terror attack that could have set off a deadly fireball in Times Square focused Sunday on finding a man who was videotaped shedding his shirt near the SUV where the bomb was found. They also were trying to determine whether more than 100 pounds of a fertilizer-like substance in the vehicle could have made the crude device even more devastating.

The video shows an unidentified white man in his 40s slipping down an alley, taking off one shirt and revealing another underneath. In the same clip, he's seen looking back in the direction of the smoking vehicle and furtively putting the first shirt in a bag, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

The homemade bomb was made largely with ordinary items including three barbecue grill-sized propane tanks, two 5-gallon gasoline containers, store-bought fireworks and cheap alarm clocks attached to wires. If successfully detonated, police said at a minimum it would have sprayed shrapnel and metal parts over one of America's busiest streets, full of Broadway theaters and restaurants, on a Saturday night.

"The intent of whoever did this to cause mayhem, create casualties," Kelly said.

Authorities didn't know how deadly the bomb could have been, how it failed or who was responsible.

The bomb at Times Square, one of the flashiest and best-known places on Earth, was found at the height of dinner hour before theatergoers headed to Saturday night shows.

The city's busiest streets, choked with taxis and people on one of the first summer-like days of the year, were shut down for 10 hours, unnerving thousands of tourists attending Broadway show, museums and other city sights.

"No more New York," said Crysta Salinas. The 28-year-old Houston woman was stuck waiting in a deli until 2 a.m. because part of a Marriott hotel was evacuated because of the bomb.

Police on Sunday still hadn't identified every piece of the device — including eight bags of an unknown substance found in a gun locker. The substance weighed more than 100 pounds, and Kelly said it "looks and feels" like fertilizer. Tests were pending.

Timers were connected to a 16-ounce can filled with the fireworks, which were apparently intended to set the gas cans and propane afire, Kelly said.

He said the bomb "looks like it would have caused a significant fireball" had it fully detonated. He said the vehicle would have been "cut in half" by an explosion and people nearby could have been sprayed by shrapnel and killed.

A Pakistani Taliban group claimed responsibility for the failed attack in a 1-minute video. Kelly, however, said police have no evidence to support the claims, and noted that the same group had falsely taken credit for previous attacks on U.S. soil. The commissioner also cast doubt on an e-mail to a news outlet claiming responsibility.

The New York Police Department and FBI also examining "hundreds of hours" of security videotape from around Times Square, Kelly said.

Police released a photograph of the SUV, a dark-colored Nissan Pathfinder, as it crossed an intersection at 6:28 p.m. Saturday. A vendor pointed the SUV out to an officer about two minutes later,

Police said they had identified the registered owner of the Pathfinder, but hadn't spoken to him yet. The license plate found on the vehicle did not belong to the SUV; police said it came from a car found in a repair shop in Connecticut.

Duane Jackson, a 58-year-old handbag vendor from Buchanan, N.Y., said he noticed the car and wondered who had left it there.

"That was my first thought: Who sat this car here?" Jackson said Sunday.

Jackson said he looked in the car and saw keys in the ignition with 19 or 20 keys on a ring. He said he alerted a passing mounted police officer.

They were looking in the car "when the smoke started coming out and then we heard the little pop-pop-pop like firecrackers going out and that's when everybody scattered and ran back," he said.

"Now that I saw the propane tanks and the gasoline, what if that would have ignited?" Jackson said. "I'm less than 8 feet away from the car."

Times Square lies about four miles north of where terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, then laid waste to it on Sept. 11, 2001.

Top federal law enforcement and intelligence officials — Obama's national security adviser James Jones, national intelligence director Dennis Blair, CIA chief Leon Panetta, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder — planned to participate in a meeting later Sunday on the bomb.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility in a video posted on the Internet Sunday, according to the SITE Intelligence Group. SITE, a U.S.-based terrorist tracking organization, first uncovered the video on YouTube; it later appeared to have been removed from the website.

In a copy of the video provided by SITE, an unidentified voice speaking in Urdu, the primary language in Pakistan, says the group takes "full responsibility for the recent attack in the USA." The video does not mention any details about Saturday's attack.

The militant group said the attack was revenge for the death of its leader, Baitullah Mehsud, and the recent slaying of al-Qaida in Iraq leaders Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who were killed by U.S. and Iraqi troops last month north of Baghdad. The video also mentioned Aafia Siddiqui, a 37-year-old Pakistani scientist who was convicted in a U.S. court in New York in February of trying to kill American service personnel after her arrest in Afghanistan in 2008.

If the claim is genuine, it would be the first time the Pakistani Taliban has struck outside of South Asia. It has no known global infrastructure like al-Qaida.

In at least one past instance, the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for an attack it played no role in. Mehsud reportedly said his men were behind a mass shooting in March 2009 at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, N.Y., in April 2009. That claim turned out to be false.

The last terror threat in New York came last fall when air shuttle driver Najibullah Zazi admitted to a foiled homemade bomb plot aimed at the city subway system.

The theater district in London was the target of a propane bomb attack in 2007. No one was injured when police discovered two Mercedes loaded with nails packed around canisters of propane and gasoline.

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  " Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."  - Daniel Moynihan
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