Pages Navigation Menu

il contenitore dell'informazione e della controinformazione

Manhattan Bombs Provide Trove of Clues; F.B.I. Questions 5 People – The New York Times

The people were taken to an F.B.I. office in Manhattan, and an official said they may have been heading to the airport. Tensions in the region increased when the authorities said pipe bombs were found in Elizabeth, N.J.

A bomb that injured 29 people on Saturday in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, and another that failed to detonate, were filled with shrapnel and made with pressure cookers, flip phones and Christmas lights to set off a powerful explosive compound, law enforcement officials said on Sunday.

Both bombs appeared designed to create maximum chaos and fatalities. They also provided a trove of clues.

Late Sunday night, two law enforcement officials said that investigators stopped a car on the Belt Parkway near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and took five people to an F.B.I. office in Manhattan for questioning in the bombing investigation. One of the officials said that all or most of them may have been from the same family and that they may have been on their way to the airport. The F.B.I. confirmed in a statement that agents and police detectives had stopped “a vehicle of interest in the investigation into Saturday’s bombing in Manhattan and that no one has been charged with any crime.”

Earlier, two senior law enforcement officials said there was a “person of interest” in the bombing, but it was unclear if that person had been identified. The person had been seen on surveillance footage.

Tensions in the region, already high, escalated later Sunday night when, according to a law enforcement official, pipe bombs were found near the train station in Elizabeth, N.J. The mayor, J. Christian Bollwage, confirmed that a suspicious package containing “wires and a pipe” had been found by two men in the city, and said that the F.B.I. and the New Jersey State Police had been called in to investigate after a drone found that the item could be a bomb.

A top law enforcement official said the pressure cookers in the two bombs in Chelsea on Saturday night were filled with “fragmentation materials.” The bomb that exploded, at 23rd Street, was filled with small bearings or metal BBs. A second device on 27th Street that did not explode appeared to be filled with the same material, the official said.

Senior law enforcement officials also said they were increasingly focused on the possibility that the attack was connected to a bombing that took place Saturday morning in New Jersey, but the authorities still needed to compare all the bombs before drawing any conclusions. There, three pipe bombs were tied together, placed in a trash can and also employed a flip phone as a timing mechanism, according to officials.

Officials said they did not know of any motive — political or social — for any of the attacks. Early on Sunday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that “there is no evidence of an international terrorism connection with this incident,” noting that no international terrorist group had claimed responsibility.

In contrast, the Islamic State was quick on Sunday to claim a stabbing attack at a Minnesota shopping mall on Saturday night that left nine people injured.

The bombing comes at a time of increasing nervousness around the world after terrorist attacks in Belgium and France, creating a climate in which even a false report of gunfire at John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens recently created widespread panic.

“This is one of the nightmare scenarios,” Mr. Cuomo said at a news conference on Sunday. “We really were very lucky that there were no fatalities.”

The search for the person or people behind the Chelsea attack took on added urgency as President Obama and leaders from around the world were set to travel to New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly this week.

Tests showed that the explosive material in the 23rd Street bomb was similar to a commercially available compound called Tannerite, according to two law enforcement officials. It was unclear why Mr. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio dismissed with such certainty a tie to international terror. Experts said the bomb’s construction offered conflicting clues.

Tannerite is made by combining ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder, is frequently used in exploding targets at firearms ranges and has rarely been used in improvised explosive devices in the United States. But the materials are easy to buy in this country because each one on its own is not an explosive.

At the same time, pressure cookers have been a container of choice for many improvised explosive devices over the years. They were used in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 based on a model in publications put out by Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen.

An expert on improvised explosive devices used by terrorists around the world said that a device constructed with a cellular phone as a timer and Christmas lights as an initiator would indicate a higher-than-average competence than what is usually found in the United States. “Most of what we see in the United States is a pipe bomb with black powder or smokeless powder or a simple hobby fuse,” said the expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he does sensitive work for government agencies. “This would be the high end of sophistication for I.E.D.s in the United States.”

The recovery of the second device provides investigators with a host of potential leads, from the phone and other materials inside the homemade bomb to the pressure cooker itself — including possibly determining when and where it was purchased — to any possible fingerprints on the device, its components or the tape that held it together.

Mr. Cuomo said he was ordering an additional 1,000 New York State Police officers and National Guard members to be dispatched to major commuter hubs. Mr. de Blasio said New Yorkers should expect to see a heightened police presence throughout the city, including additional patrols by the city’s heavily armed counterterrorism units.


Witnesses said the blast on West 23rd Street had seemed to come from a Dumpster. The authorities were investigating the cause. Credit Chris Duffy

The police continued to search the area around the blast site and fanned out across New York chasing leads and trying to sort through a variety of claims of responsibility — from Twitter to websites to 911 calls — most of which were dismissed as unrelated.

Late on Sunday, F.B.I. agents were seen dismantling the car of an Uber driver, who said the law enforcement officials were searching for possible evidence related to the attack.

The bomb in Manhattan was placed under a Dumpster made of heavy-gauge steel, and was powerful enough to catapult the metal box across the street.

The 29 people who were wounded mostly suffered cuts and abrasions. All who were taken to local hospitals had been released by Sunday morning.

Commissioner James P. O’Neill of the New York Police Department said the unexploded device was found by two state troopers as they walked down 27th Street, and other law enforcement officials said calls to 911 alerted the police to a suspicious device. It was taken to be examined by bomb technicians at a police facility in Rodman’s Neck in the Bronx.

At first, the technicians tried to peel apart the device to see its components and whether it had signature properties that could link it to the kind of device used by terrorists in the past.

Slide Show

Slide Show|7 Photos

An Explosion in Manhattan

An Explosion in Manhattan

CreditAndres Kudacki/Associated Press

It and the remnants of the device that exploded in Chelsea were sent to the F.B.I.’s bomb lab in Quantico, Va., along with the improvised explosive device found in New Jersey.

While government officials had initially been dismissive of a link between the New Jersey and New York attacks, evidence from the crime scenes seemed to lead them to change their thinking. The New Jersey blast took place 11 hours earlier when an improvised device exploded in a garbage can near the course of a charity race. That device went off around 9:30 a.m. near the boardwalk in Seaside Park, according to the Ocean County sheriff, Michael G. Mastronardy. Only one of the three pipe bombs detonated and no one was injured. Officials said the explosive in that device appeared to be black powder. The race, the Seaside Semper Five, a five-kilometer run that raises money for members of the Marine Corps and their families, was canceled.

The police were reviewing surveillance video in New York and New Jersey and continued to look for clues while trying to understand the choice of location for the bomb: pointedly not Times Square, a commuter hub, train or landmark, which have been targets of terrorism in the past.

The nondescript area — a sidewalk, near some Dumpsters in a residential area of Chelsea — held its own significance.

“You’ve got to go somewhere,” said a New York law enforcement official who agreed to speak about the continuing investigation only on the condition of anonymity. “So the question is: Is the location significant, in terms of motive? And we don’t know that 23rd Street has any particular significance.”

Moments after the blast, the police swarmed Chelsea’s streets, and messages flew fast and furious from people across a city that has taken on a wary resignation that terrorism is a sad fact of life.

The Dumpster where the bomb exploded was being used in the renovation of the fifth and sixth floors of Selis Manor, a 205-unit Section 8 apartment building that provides affordable housing for the visually impaired and disabled, its managing agent, Tony Savarese, said.

Mr. Savarese said that the Dumpster sat on the eastern side of the building and that the bomb exploded with enough force to shatter windows, break a door frame and obliterate a security camera perched above the entrance. The camera recorded little more than a blinding flash.

Mr. Savarese said he had gotten no reports of injuries among the building’s residents, but said its management was still checking on their well-being. “We have been going apartment to apartment checking on everybody,” he said.

Sorgente: Manhattan Bombs Provide Trove of Clues; F.B.I. Questions 5 People – The New York Times

Spread the love

Leave a Comment

Il tuo indirizzo email non sarà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *

Questo sito usa Akismet per ridurre lo spam. Scopri come i tuoi dati vengono elaborati.