New York blast an act of terrorism but no international link: State governor

A New York police department spokesman tweeted that the blast took place on 23rd street between 6th and 7th avenues. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters New York, United States Sep 18, 2016, 02.17 AM (IST)

The bomb that exploded in New York wounding 29 people was an act of terrorism but has no apparent international link, the state governor said on Sunday.

"A bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism, but it's not linked to international terrorism. In other words, we find no ISIS connection, et cetera," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, in reference to the Islamic State extremist group based in Iraq and Syria, reported AFP.

The explosion in the Chealsea neighbourhood of Manhattan on Saturday evening, left the city on high alert. 

"Early indications are that this was an intentional act," mayor Bill de Blasio had earlier said at a press conference. But he was not sure it had "a terror connection".

Meanwhile, local news reports added that a second device -- which looked like a "pressurised cooker" -- had been found four blocks from the first blast site.  

And Reuters reported an official as saying that the Joint Terrorism Task Force, an inter-agency group of federal, state and local officials, was called to investigate the Chelsea blast, suggesting authorities have not ruled out the possibility of a terror connection.

 

Fire department commissioner Daniel Nigro said 24 people had been admitted to hospital with scrapes and bruises recieved from glass and metal. CNN reported that one of the victims was believed to be critical.  

Reports said law enforcement officials believed the explosion took place in a dumpster, but would not say what might have caused it. 

CNN reported officials as saying they believed it was an improvised explosive device or IED. 

New York city police department deputy commissioner J Peter Donald tweeted that the blast occured at about 8.30 pm between 6th Avenue and 7th Avenue on 23rd Street and that several injured were transported to an area hospital. 

Police issued a notice asking motorists to avoid the area and that they should "expect extensive traffic delays and emergency personnel in the area of 23rd Street and 7th Avenue."

The blast happened outside the Associated Blinding Housing facility at 135 W. 23rd Street. Hundreds were seen fleeing the area in panic after the blast.  

Tsi Tsi Mallett, who was driving along 23rd Street when the explosion took place, told Reuters, "It was really loud, it hurt my eardrums. My 10-year-old boy was sat in the back seat of the car, and the explosion blew the back window out." Reuters reported her son was not injured. 

Neha Jain, who lives in the neighbourhood, told Reuters she was sitting in her room watching a movie when she suddenly heard a huge boom and everything shook.

"Pictures on my wall fell, the window curtain came flying as if there was a big gush of wind. Then we could smell smoke. Went downstairs to see what happened and firemen immediately told us to go back."

This was the second explosion that took place on Saturday, the first one being at New Jersey's Seaside Park, when a pipe bomb in a trash can exploded along the route of a charity race to benefit military veterans. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)
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